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10.2 Using Common Organizing Patterns

Learning objectives.

  • Differentiate among the common speech organizational patterns: categorical/topical, comparison/contrast, spatial, chronological, biographical, causal, problem-cause-solution, and psychological.
  • Understand how to choose the best organizational pattern, or combination of patterns, for a specific speech.

A motivational poster of water running over rocks. The caption says

Twentyfour Students – Organization makes you flow – CC BY-SA 2.0.

Previously in this chapter we discussed how to make your main points flow logically. This section is going to provide you with a number of organization patterns to help you create a logically organized speech. The first organization pattern we’ll discuss is categorical/topical.

Categorical/Topical

By far the most common pattern for organizing a speech is by categories or topics. The categories function as a way to help the speaker organize the message in a consistent fashion. The goal of a categorical/topical speech pattern is to create categories (or chunks) of information that go together to help support your original specific purpose. Let’s look at an example.

In this case, we have a speaker trying to persuade a group of high school juniors to apply to attend Generic University. To persuade this group, the speaker has divided the information into three basic categories: what it’s like to live in the dorms, what classes are like, and what life is like on campus. Almost anyone could take this basic speech and specifically tailor the speech to fit her or his own university or college. The main points in this example could be rearranged and the organizational pattern would still be effective because there is no inherent logic to the sequence of points. Let’s look at a second example.

In this speech, the speaker is talking about how to find others online and date them. Specifically, the speaker starts by explaining what Internet dating is; then the speaker talks about how to make Internet dating better for her or his audience members; and finally, the speaker ends by discussing some negative aspects of Internet dating. Again, notice that the information is chunked into three categories or topics and that the second and third could be reversed and still provide a logical structure for your speech

Comparison/Contrast

Another method for organizing main points is the comparison/contrast speech pattern . While this pattern clearly lends itself easily to two main points, you can also create a third point by giving basic information about what is being compared and what is being contrasted. Let’s look at two examples; the first one will be a two-point example and the second a three-point example.

If you were using the comparison/contrast pattern for persuasive purposes, in the preceding examples, you’d want to make sure that when you show how Drug X and Drug Y differ, you clearly state why Drug X is clearly the better choice for physicians to adopt. In essence, you’d want to make sure that when you compare the two drugs, you show that Drug X has all the benefits of Drug Y, but when you contrast the two drugs, you show how Drug X is superior to Drug Y in some way.

The spatial speech pattern organizes information according to how things fit together in physical space. This pattern is best used when your main points are oriented to different locations that can exist independently. The basic reason to choose this format is to show that the main points have clear locations. We’ll look at two examples here, one involving physical geography and one involving a different spatial order.

If you look at a basic map of the United States, you’ll notice that these groupings of states were created because of their geographic location to one another. In essence, the states create three spatial territories to explain.

Now let’s look at a spatial speech unrelated to geography.

In this example, we still have three basic spatial areas. If you look at a model of the urinary system, the first step is the kidney, which then takes waste through the ureters to the bladder, which then relies on the sphincter muscle to excrete waste through the urethra. All we’ve done in this example is create a spatial speech order for discussing how waste is removed from the human body through the urinary system. It is spatial because the organization pattern is determined by the physical location of each body part in relation to the others discussed.

Chronological

The chronological speech pattern places the main idea in the time order in which items appear—whether backward or forward. Here’s a simple example.

In this example, we’re looking at the writings of Winston Churchill in relation to World War II (before, during, and after). By placing his writings into these three categories, we develop a system for understanding this material based on Churchill’s own life. Note that you could also use reverse chronological order and start with Churchill’s writings after World War II, progressing backward to his earliest writings.

Biographical

As you might guess, the biographical speech pattern is generally used when a speaker wants to describe a person’s life—either a speaker’s own life, the life of someone they know personally, or the life of a famous person. By the nature of this speech organizational pattern, these speeches tend to be informative or entertaining; they are usually not persuasive. Let’s look at an example.

In this example, we see how Brian Warner, through three major periods of his life, ultimately became the musician known as Marilyn Manson.

In this example, these three stages are presented in chronological order, but the biographical pattern does not have to be chronological. For example, it could compare and contrast different periods of the subject’s life, or it could focus topically on the subject’s different accomplishments.

The causal speech pattern is used to explain cause-and-effect relationships. When you use a causal speech pattern, your speech will have two basic main points: cause and effect. In the first main point, typically you will talk about the causes of a phenomenon, and in the second main point you will then show how the causes lead to either a specific effect or a small set of effects. Let’s look at an example.

In this case, the first main point is about the history and prevalence of drinking alcohol among Native Americans (the cause). The second point then examines the effects of Native American alcohol consumption and how it differs from other population groups.

However, a causal organizational pattern can also begin with an effect and then explore one or more causes. In the following example, the effect is the number of arrests for domestic violence.

In this example, the possible causes for the difference might include stricter law enforcement, greater likelihood of neighbors reporting an incident, and police training that emphasizes arrests as opposed to other outcomes. Examining these possible causes may suggest that despite the arrest statistic, the actual number of domestic violence incidents in your city may not be greater than in other cities of similar size.

Problem-Cause-Solution

Another format for organizing distinct main points in a clear manner is the problem-cause-solution speech pattern . In this format you describe a problem, identify what you believe is causing the problem, and then recommend a solution to correct the problem.

In this speech, the speaker wants to persuade people to pass a new curfew for people under eighteen. To help persuade the civic group members, the speaker first shows that vandalism and violence are problems in the community. Once the speaker has shown the problem, the speaker then explains to the audience that the cause of this problem is youth outside after 10:00 p.m. Lastly, the speaker provides the mandatory 10:00 p.m. curfew as a solution to the vandalism and violence problem within the community. The problem-cause-solution format for speeches generally lends itself to persuasive topics because the speaker is asking an audience to believe in and adopt a specific solution.

Psychological

A further way to organize your main ideas within a speech is through a psychological speech pattern in which “a” leads to “b” and “b” leads to “c.” This speech format is designed to follow a logical argument, so this format lends itself to persuasive speeches very easily. Let’s look at an example.

In this speech, the speaker starts by discussing how humor affects the body. If a patient is exposed to humor (a), then the patient’s body actually physiologically responds in ways that help healing (b—e.g., reduces stress, decreases blood pressure, bolsters one’s immune system, etc.). Because of these benefits, nurses should engage in humor use that helps with healing (c).

Selecting an Organizational Pattern

Each of the preceding organizational patterns is potentially useful for organizing the main points of your speech. However, not all organizational patterns work for all speeches. For example, as we mentioned earlier, the biographical pattern is useful when you are telling the story of someone’s life. Some other patterns, particularly comparison/contrast, problem-cause-solution, and psychological, are well suited for persuasive speaking. Your challenge is to choose the best pattern for the particular speech you are giving.

You will want to be aware that it is also possible to combine two or more organizational patterns to meet the goals of a specific speech. For example, you might wish to discuss a problem and then compare/contrast several different possible solutions for the audience. Such a speech would thus be combining elements of the comparison/contrast and problem-cause-solution patterns. When considering which organizational pattern to use, you need to keep in mind your specific purpose as well as your audience and the actual speech material itself to decide which pattern you think will work best.

Key Takeaway

  • Speakers can use a variety of different organizational patterns, including categorical/topical, comparison/contrast, spatial, chronological, biographical, causal, problem-cause-solution, and psychological. Ultimately, speakers must really think about which organizational pattern best suits a specific speech topic.
  • Imagine that you are giving an informative speech about your favorite book. Which organizational pattern do you think would be most useful? Why? Would your answer be different if your speech goal were persuasive? Why or why not?
  • Working on your own or with a partner, develop three main points for a speech designed to persuade college students to attend your university. Work through the preceding organizational patterns and see which ones would be possible choices for your speech. Which organizational pattern seems to be the best choice? Why?
  • Use one of the common organizational patterns to create three main points for your next speech.

Stand up, Speak out Copyright © 2016 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Chapter 10 Creating the Body of a Speech

In a series of important and ground-breaking studies conducted during the 1950s and 1960s, researchers started investigating how a speech’s organization was related to audience perceptions of those speeches. The first study, conducted by Raymond Smith in 1951, randomly organized the parts of a speech to see how audiences would react. Not surprisingly, when speeches were randomly organized, the audience perceived the speech more negatively than when audiences were presented with a speech with clear, intentional organization. Smith also found that audiences who listened to unorganized speeches were less interested in those speeches than audiences who listened to organized speeches. Smith, R. G. (1951). An experimental study of the effects of speech organization upon attitudes of college students. Speech Monographs, 18 , 292–301. Thompson furthered this investigation and found that unorganized speeches were also harder for audiences to recall after the speech. Basically, people remember information from speeches that are clearly organized—and forget information from speeches that are poorly organized. Thompson, E. C. (1960). An experimental investigation of the relative effectiveness of organizational structure in oral communication. Southern Speech Journal, 26 , 59–69. A third study by Baker found that when audiences were presented with a disorganized speaker, they were less likely to be persuaded, and saw the disorganized speaker as lacking credibility. Baker, E. E. (1965). The immediate effects of perceived speaker disorganization on speaker credibility and audience attitude change in persuasive speaking. Western Speech, 29 , 148–161.

These three very important studies make the importance of organization very clear. When speakers are not organized they are not perceived as credible and their audiences view the speeches negatively, are less likely to be persuaded, and don’t remember specific information from the speeches after the fact.

We start this chapter discussing these studies because we want you to understand the importance of speech organization on real audiences. If you are not organized, your speech will never have its intended effect. In this chapter, we are going to discuss the basics of organizing the body of your speech.

10.1 Determining Your Main Ideas

Learning objectives.

  • Revisit the function of a specific purpose.
  • Understand how to make the transition from a specific purpose to a series of main points.
  • Be able to narrow a speech from all the possible points to the main points.
  • Explain how to prepare meaningful main points.

When creating a speech, it’s important to remember that speeches have three clear parts: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. The introduction establishes the topic and whets your audience’s appetite, and the conclusion wraps everything up at the end of your speech. The real “meat” of your speech happens in the body. In this section, we’re going to discuss how to think strategically about the body of your speech.

We like the word strategic because it refers to determining what is important or essential to the overall plan or purpose of your speech. Too often, new speakers just throw information together and stand up and start speaking. When that happens, audience members are left confused and the reason for the speech may get lost. To avoid being seen as disorganized, we want you to start thinking critically about the organization of your speech. In this section, we will discuss how to take your speech from a specific purpose to creating the main points of your speech.

What Is Your Specific Purpose?

Before we discuss how to determine the main points of your speech, we want to revisit your speech’s specific purpose, which we discussed in detail in Chapter 6 "Finding a Purpose and Selecting a Topic" . Recall that a speech can have one of three general purposes: to inform, to persuade, or to entertain. The general purpose refers to the broad goal for creating and delivering the speech. The specific purpose, on the other hand, starts with one of those broad goals (inform, persuade, or entertain) and then further informs the listener about the who , what , when , where , why , and how of the speech.

The specific purpose is stated as a sentence incorporating the general purpose, the specific audience for the speech, and a prepositional phrase that summarizes the topic. Suppose you are going to give a speech about using open-source software. Here are three examples (each with a different general purpose and a different audience):

In each of these three examples, you’ll notice that the general topic is the same—open-source software—but the specific purpose is different because the speech has a different general purpose and a different audience. Before you can think strategically about organizing the body of your speech, you need to know what your specific purpose is. If you have not yet written a specific purpose for your current speech, please go ahead and write one now.

From Specific Purpose to Main Points

Once you’ve written down your specific purpose, you can now start thinking about the best way to turn that specific purpose into a series of main points. Main points The series of key ideas that you develop to help your audience understand your specific purpose. are the key ideas you present to enable your speech to accomplish its specific purpose. In this section, we’re going to discuss how to determine your main points and how to organize those main points into a coherent, strategic speech.

How Many Main Points Do I Need?

While there is no magic number for how many main points a speech should have, speech experts generally agree that the fewer the number of main points the better. First and foremost, experts on the subject of memory have consistently shown that people don’t tend to remember very much after they listen to a message or leave a conversation. Bostrom, R. N., & Waldhart, E. S. (1988). Memory models and the measurement of listening. Communication Education, 37 , 1–13. While many different factors can affect a listener’s ability to retain information after a speech, how the speech is organized is an important part of that process. Dunham, J. R. (1964). Voice contrast and repetition in speech retention (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from: http://etd.lib.ttu.edu/theses; Smith, R. G. (1951). An experimental study of the effects of speech organization upon attitudes of college students. Speech Monographs, 18 , 292–301; Thompson, E. C. (1960). An experimental investigation of the relative effectiveness of organizational structure in oral communication. Southern Speech Journal, 26 , 59–69. For the speeches you will be delivering in a typical public speaking class, you will usually have just two or three main points. If your speech is less than three minutes long, then two main points will probably work best. If your speech is between three and ten minutes in length, then it makes more sense to use three main points.

You may be wondering why we are recommending only two or three main points. The reason comes straight out of the research on listening. According to LeFrancois, people are more likely to remember information that is meaningful, useful, and of interest to them; different or unique; organized; visual; and simple. LeFrancois, G. R. (1999). Psychology for teaching (10th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Two or three main points are much easier for listeners to remember than ten or even five. In addition, if you have two or three main points, you’ll be able to develop each one with examples, statistics, or other forms of support. Including support for each point will make your speech more interesting and more memorable for your audience.

Narrowing Down Your Main Points

When you write your specific purpose and review the research you have done on your topic, you will probably find yourself thinking of quite a few points that you’d like to make in your speech. Whether that’s the case or not, we recommend taking a few minutes to brainstorm and develop a list of points. In brainstorming, your goal is simply to think of as many different points as you can, not to judge how valuable or important they are. What information does your audience need to know to understand your topic? What information does your speech need to convey to accomplish its specific purpose? Consider the following example:

Now that you have brainstormed and developed a list of possible points, how do you go about narrowing them down to just two or three main ones? Remember, your main points are the key ideas that help build your speech. When you look over the preceding list, you can then start to see that many of the points are related to one another. Your goal in narrowing down your main points is to identify which individual, potentially minor points can be combined to make main points. This process is called chunking The process of taking smaller chunks of information and putting them together with like chunks to create more fully developed, larger chunks of information. because it involves taking smaller chunks of information and putting them together with like chunks to create more fully developed chunks of information. Before reading our chunking of the preceding list, see if you can determine three large chunks out of the list (note that not all chunks are equal).

You may notice that in the preceding list, the number of subpoints under each of the three main points is a little disjointed or the topics don’t go together clearly. That’s all right. Remember that these are just general ideas at this point. It’s also important to remember that there is often more than one way to organize a speech. Some of these points could be left out and others developed more fully, depending on the purpose and audience. We’ll develop the preceding main points more fully in a moment.

Helpful Hints for Preparing Your Main Points

Now that we’ve discussed how to take a specific purpose and turn it into a series of main points, here are some helpful hints for creating your main points.

Uniting Your Main Points

Once you’ve generated a possible list of main points, you want to ask yourself this question: “When you look at your main points, do they fit together?” For example, if you look at the three preceding main points (school districts use software in their operations; what is open-source software; name some specific open-source software packages that may be appropriate for these school administrators to consider), ask yourself, “Do these main points help my audience understand my specific purpose?”

Suppose you added a fourth main point about open-source software for musicians—would this fourth main point go with the other three? Probably not. While you may have a strong passion for open-source music software, that main point is extraneous information for the speech you are giving. It does not help accomplish your specific purpose, so you’d need to toss it out.

Keeping Your Main Points Separate

The next question to ask yourself about your main points is whether they overlap too much. While some overlap may happen naturally because of the singular nature of a specific topic, the information covered within each main point should be clearly distinct from the other main points. Imagine you’re giving a speech with the specific purpose “to inform my audience about the health reasons for eating apples and oranges.” You could then have three main points: that eating fruits is healthy, that eating apples is healthy, and that eating oranges is healthy. While the two points related to apples and oranges are clearly distinct, both of those main points would probably overlap too much with the first point “that eating fruits is healthy,” so you would probably decide to eliminate the first point and focus on the second and third. On the other hand, you could keep the first point and then develop two new points giving additional support to why people should eat fruit.

Balancing Main Points

One of the biggest mistakes some speakers make is to spend most of their time talking about one of their main points, completely neglecting their other main points. To avoid this mistake, organize your speech so as to spend roughly the same amount of time on each main point. If you find that one of your main points is simply too large, you may need to divide that main point into two main points and consolidate your other main points into a single main point.

Let’s see if our preceding example is balanced (school districts use software in their operations; what is open-source software; name some specific open-source software packages that may be appropriate for these school administrators to consider). What do you think? Obviously, the answer depends on how much time a speaker will have to talk about each of these main points. If you have an hour to talk, then you may find that these three main points are balanced. However, you may also find them wildly unbalanced if you only have five minutes to speak because five minutes is not enough time to even explain what open-source software is. If that’s the case, then you probably need to rethink your specific purpose to ensure that you can cover the material in the allotted time.

Creating Parallel Structure for Main Points

Another major question to ask yourself about your main points is whether or not they have a parallel structure. By parallel structure, we mean that you should structure your main points so that they all sound similar. When all your main points sound similar, it’s simply easier for your audiences to remember your main points and retain them for later. Let’s look at our sample (school districts use software in their operations; what is open-source software; name some specific open-source software packages that may be appropriate for these school administrators to consider). Notice that the first and third main points are statements, but the second one is a question. Basically, we have an example here of main points that are not parallel in structure. You could fix this in one of two ways. You could make them all questions: what are some common school district software programs; what is open-source software; and what are some specific open-source software packages that may be appropriate for these school administrators to consider. Or you could turn them all into statements: school districts use software in their operations; define and describe open-source software; name some specific open-source software packages that may be appropriate for these school administrators to consider. Either of these changes will make the grammatical structure of the main points parallel.

Maintaining Logical Flow of Main Points

The last question you want to ask yourself about your main points is whether the main points make sense in the order you’ve placed them. The next section goes into more detail of common organizational patterns for speeches, but for now we want you to just think logically about the flow of your main points. When you look at your main points, can you see them as progressive, or does it make sense to talk about one first, another one second, and the final one last? If you look at your order, and it doesn’t make sense to you, you probably need to think about the flow of your main points. Often, this process is an art and not a science. But let’s look at a couple of examples.

When you look at these two examples, what are your immediate impressions of the two examples? In the first example, does it make sense to talk about history, and then the problems, and finally how to eliminate school dress codes? Would it make sense to put history as your last main point? Probably not. In this case, the main points are in a logical sequential order. What about the second example? Does it make sense to talk about your solution, then your problem, and then define the solution? Not really! What order do you think these main points should be placed in for a logical flow? Maybe you should explain the problem (lack of rider laws), then define your solution (what is rider law legislation), and then argue for your solution (why states should have rider laws). Notice that in this example you don’t even need to know what “rider laws” are to see that the flow didn’t make sense.

Key Takeaways

  • All speeches start with a general purpose and then move to a specific purpose that gives the who , what , where , and how for the speech.
  • Transitioning from the specific purpose to possible main points means developing a list of potential main points you could discuss. Then you can narrow your focus by looking for similarities among your potential main points and combining ones that are similar.
  • Shorter speeches will have two main points while longer speeches will generally have three or more main points. When creating your main points, make sure that they are united, separate, balanced, parallel, and logical.
  • Generate a specific purpose for your current speech. Conduct a brainstorming activity where you try to think of all the possible points you could possibly make related to your specific purpose. Once you’ve finished creating this list, see if you can find a meaningful pattern that helps you develop three main points.
  • Pair up with a partner. Take the three main points you developed in the previous exercise, exchange papers with your partner and ask him or her to see whether or not they are united, separate, balanced, parallel, and logical. You do the same for your partner’s main points. If they are not, what can you or your partner do to fix your main points?

10.2 Using Common Organizing Patterns

  • Differentiate among the common speech organizational patterns: categorical/topical, comparison/contrast, spatial, chronological, biographical, causal, problem-cause-solution, and psychological.
  • Understand how to choose the best organizational pattern, or combination of patterns, for a specific speech.

Previously in this chapter we discussed how to make your main points flow logically. This section is going to provide you with a number of organization patterns to help you create a logically organized speech. The first organization pattern we’ll discuss is categorical/topical.

Categorical/Topical

By far the most common pattern for organizing a speech is by categories or topics. The categories function as a way to help the speaker organize the message in a consistent fashion. The goal of a categorical/topical speech pattern Speech format in which a speaker organizes the information into categories, which helps an audience understand a single topic. is to create categories (or chunks) of information that go together to help support your original specific purpose. Let’s look at an example.

In this case, we have a speaker trying to persuade a group of high school juniors to apply to attend Generic University. To persuade this group, the speaker has divided the information into three basic categories: what it’s like to live in the dorms, what classes are like, and what life is like on campus. Almost anyone could take this basic speech and specifically tailor the speech to fit her or his own university or college. The main points in this example could be rearranged and the organizational pattern would still be effective because there is no inherent logic to the sequence of points. Let’s look at a second example.

In this speech, the speaker is talking about how to find others online and date them. Specifically, the speaker starts by explaining what Internet dating is; then the speaker talks about how to make Internet dating better for her or his audience members; and finally, the speaker ends by discussing some negative aspects of Internet dating. Again, notice that the information is chunked into three categories or topics and that the second and third could be reversed and still provide a logical structure for your speech

Comparison/Contrast

Another method for organizing main points is the comparison/contrast speech pattern Speech format in which a speaker selects two objects or ideas and demonstrates how they are similar or how they are different. . While this pattern clearly lends itself easily to two main points, you can also create a third point by giving basic information about what is being compared and what is being contrasted. Let’s look at two examples; the first one will be a two-point example and the second a three-point example.

If you were using the comparison/contrast pattern for persuasive purposes, in the preceding examples, you’d want to make sure that when you show how Drug X and Drug Y differ, you clearly state why Drug X is clearly the better choice for physicians to adopt. In essence, you’d want to make sure that when you compare the two drugs, you show that Drug X has all the benefits of Drug Y, but when you contrast the two drugs, you show how Drug X is superior to Drug Y in some way.

The spatial speech pattern Speech format in which a speaker organizes information according to how things fit together in physical space. organizes information according to how things fit together in physical space. This pattern is best used when your main points are oriented to different locations that can exist independently. The basic reason to choose this format is to show that the main points have clear locations. We’ll look at two examples here, one involving physical geography and one involving a different spatial order.

If you look at a basic map of the United States, you’ll notice that these groupings of states were created because of their geographic location to one another. In essence, the states create three spatial territories to explain.

Now let’s look at a spatial speech unrelated to geography.

In this example, we still have three basic spatial areas. If you look at a model of the urinary system, the first step is the kidney, which then takes waste through the ureters to the bladder, which then relies on the sphincter muscle to excrete waste through the urethra. All we’ve done in this example is create a spatial speech order for discussing how waste is removed from the human body through the urinary system. It is spatial because the organization pattern is determined by the physical location of each body part in relation to the others discussed.

Chronological

The chronological speech pattern Speech format in which a speaker presents information in the order in which it occurred in time—whether backward or forward. places the main idea in the time order in which items appear—whether backward or forward. Here’s a simple example.

In this example, we’re looking at the writings of Winston Churchill in relation to World War II (before, during, and after). By placing his writings into these three categories, we develop a system for understanding this material based on Churchill’s own life. Note that you could also use reverse chronological order and start with Churchill’s writings after World War II, progressing backward to his earliest writings.

Biographical

As you might guess, the biographical speech pattern Speech format generally used when a speaker wants to describe a person’s life. is generally used when a speaker wants to describe a person’s life—either a speaker’s own life, the life of someone they know personally, or the life of a famous person. By the nature of this speech organizational pattern, these speeches tend to be informative or entertaining; they are usually not persuasive. Let’s look at an example.

In this example, we see how Brian Warner, through three major periods of his life, ultimately became the musician known as Marilyn Manson.

In this example, these three stages are presented in chronological order, but the biographical pattern does not have to be chronological. For example, it could compare and contrast different periods of the subject’s life, or it could focus topically on the subject’s different accomplishments.

The causal speech pattern Speech format that is built upon two main points: cause and effect. is used to explain cause-and-effect relationships. When you use a causal speech pattern, your speech will have two basic main points: cause and effect. In the first main point, typically you will talk about the causes of a phenomenon, and in the second main point you will then show how the causes lead to either a specific effect or a small set of effects. Let’s look at an example.

In this case, the first main point is about the history and prevalence of drinking alcohol among Native Americans (the cause). The second point then examines the effects of Native American alcohol consumption and how it differs from other population groups.

However, a causal organizational pattern can also begin with an effect and then explore one or more causes. In the following example, the effect is the number of arrests for domestic violence.

In this example, the possible causes for the difference might include stricter law enforcement, greater likelihood of neighbors reporting an incident, and police training that emphasizes arrests as opposed to other outcomes. Examining these possible causes may suggest that despite the arrest statistic, the actual number of domestic violence incidents in your city may not be greater than in other cities of similar size.

Problem-Cause-Solution

Another format for organizing distinct main points in a clear manner is the problem-cause-solution speech pattern Speech format in which a speaker discusses what a problem is, what the speaker believes is causing the problem, and then what the solution should be to correct the problem. . In this format you describe a problem, identify what you believe is causing the problem, and then recommend a solution to correct the problem.

In this speech, the speaker wants to persuade people to pass a new curfew for people under eighteen. To help persuade the civic group members, the speaker first shows that vandalism and violence are problems in the community. Once the speaker has shown the problem, the speaker then explains to the audience that the cause of this problem is youth outside after 10:00 p.m. Lastly, the speaker provides the mandatory 10:00 p.m. curfew as a solution to the vandalism and violence problem within the community. The problem-cause-solution format for speeches generally lends itself to persuasive topics because the speaker is asking an audience to believe in and adopt a specific solution.

Psychological

A further way to organize your main ideas within a speech is through a psychological speech pattern Speech format built on basic logic in which “a” leads to “b” and “b” leads to “c.” in which “a” leads to “b” and “b” leads to “c.” This speech format is designed to follow a logical argument, so this format lends itself to persuasive speeches very easily. Let’s look at an example.

In this speech, the speaker starts by discussing how humor affects the body. If a patient is exposed to humor (a), then the patient’s body actually physiologically responds in ways that help healing (b—e.g., reduces stress, decreases blood pressure, bolsters one’s immune system, etc.). Because of these benefits, nurses should engage in humor use that helps with healing (c).

Selecting an Organizational Pattern

Each of the preceding organizational patterns is potentially useful for organizing the main points of your speech. However, not all organizational patterns work for all speeches. For example, as we mentioned earlier, the biographical pattern is useful when you are telling the story of someone’s life. Some other patterns, particularly comparison/contrast, problem-cause-solution, and psychological, are well suited for persuasive speaking. Your challenge is to choose the best pattern for the particular speech you are giving.

You will want to be aware that it is also possible to combine two or more organizational patterns to meet the goals of a specific speech. For example, you might wish to discuss a problem and then compare/contrast several different possible solutions for the audience. Such a speech would thus be combining elements of the comparison/contrast and problem-cause-solution patterns. When considering which organizational pattern to use, you need to keep in mind your specific purpose as well as your audience and the actual speech material itself to decide which pattern you think will work best.

Key Takeaway

  • Speakers can use a variety of different organizational patterns, including categorical/topical, comparison/contrast, spatial, chronological, biographical, causal, problem-cause-solution, and psychological. Ultimately, speakers must really think about which organizational pattern best suits a specific speech topic.
  • Imagine that you are giving an informative speech about your favorite book. Which organizational pattern do you think would be most useful? Why? Would your answer be different if your speech goal were persuasive? Why or why not?
  • Working on your own or with a partner, develop three main points for a speech designed to persuade college students to attend your university. Work through the preceding organizational patterns and see which ones would be possible choices for your speech. Which organizational pattern seems to be the best choice? Why?
  • Use one of the common organizational patterns to create three main points for your next speech.

10.3 Keeping Your Speech Moving

  • Understand the importance of transitions within a speech.
  • Identify and be able to use a variety of transition words to create effective transitions within a speech.
  • Understand how to use a variety of strategies to help audience members keep up with a speech’s content: internal previews, internal summaries, and signposts.

Have you ever been listening to a speech or a lecture and found yourself thinking, “I am so lost!” or “Where the heck is this speaker going?” Chances are one of the reasons you weren’t sure what the speaker was talking about was that the speaker didn’t effectively keep the speech moving. When we are reading and encounter something we don’t understand, we have the ability to reread the paragraph and try to make sense of what we’re trying to read. Unfortunately, we are not that lucky when it comes to listening to a speaker. We cannot pick up our universal remote and rewind the person. For this reason, speakers need to really think about how they keep a speech moving so that audience members are easily able to keep up with the speech. In this section, we’re going to look at four specific techniques speakers can use that make following a speech much easier for an audience: transitions, internal previews, internal summaries, and signposts.

Transitions between Main Points

A transition A phrase or sentence that indicates that a speaker is moving from one main point to another main point in a speech. is a phrase or sentence that indicates that a speaker is moving from one main point to another main point in a speech. Basically, a transition is a sentence where the speaker summarizes what was said in one point and previews what is going to be discussed in the next point. Let’s look at some examples:

  • Now that we’ve seen the problems caused by lack of adolescent curfew laws, let’s examine how curfew laws could benefit our community.
  • Thus far we’ve examined the history and prevalence of alcohol abuse among Native Americans, but it is the impact that this abuse has on the health of Native Americans that is of the greatest concern.
  • Now that we’ve thoroughly examined how these two medications are similar to one another, we can consider the many clear differences between the two medications.
  • Although he was one of the most prolific writers in Great Britain prior to World War II, Winston Churchill continued to publish during the war years as well.

You’ll notice that in each of these transition examples, the beginning phrase of the sentence indicates the conclusion of a period of time (now that, thus far). Table 10.1 "Transition Words" contains a variety of transition words that will be useful when keeping your speech moving.

Table 10.1 Transition Words

Beyond transitions, there are several other techniques that you can use to clarify your speech organization for your audience. The next sections address several of these techniques, including internal previews, internal summaries, and signposts.

Internal Previews

An internal preview A phrase or sentence that gives an audience an idea of what is to come within a section of a speech. is a phrase or sentence that gives an audience an idea of what is to come within a section of a speech. An internal preview works similarly to the preview that a speaker gives at the end of a speech introduction, quickly outlining what he or she is going to talk about (i.e., the speech’s three main body points). In an internal preview, the speaker highlights what he or she is going to discuss within a specific main point during a speech.

Ausubel was the first person to examine the effect that internal previews had on retention of oral information. Ausubel, D. P. (1968). Educational psychology . New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston. Basically, when a speaker clearly informs an audience what he or she is going to be talking about in a clear and organized manner, the audience listens for those main points, which leads to higher retention of the speaker’s message. Let’s look at a sample internal preview:

To help us further understand why recycling is important, we will first explain the positive benefits of recycling and then explore how recycling can help our community.

When an audience hears that you will be exploring two different ideas within this main point, they are ready to listen for those main points as you talk about them. In essence, you’re helping your audience keep up with your speech.

Rather than being given alone, internal previews often come after a speaker has transitioned to that main topic area. Using the previous internal preview, let’s see it along with the transition to that main point.

Now that we’ve explored the effect that a lack of consistent recycling has on our community, let’s explore the importance of recycling for our community (transition). To help us further understand why recycling is important, we will first explain the positive benefits of recycling and then explore how recycling can help our community (internal preview).

While internal previews are definitely helpful, you do not need to include one for every main point of your speech. In fact, we recommend that you use internal previews sparingly to highlight only main points containing relatively complex information.

Internal Summaries

Whereas an internal preview helps an audience know what you are going to talk about within a main point at the beginning, an internal summary A phrase or sentence that reaffirms to an audience the information that was just delivered within the speech. is delivered to remind an audience of what they just heard within the speech. In general, internal summaries are best used when the information within a specific main point of a speech was complicated. To write your own internal summaries, look at the summarizing transition words in Table 10.1 "Transition Words" Let’s look at an example.

To sum up, school bullying is a definite problem. Bullying in schools has been shown to be detrimental to the victim’s grades, the victim’s scores on standardized tests, and the victim’s future educational outlook.

In this example, the speaker was probably talking about the impact that bullying has on an individual victim educationally. Of course, an internal summary can also be a great way to lead into a transition to the next point of a speech.

In this section, we have explored how bullying in schools has been shown to be detrimental to the victim’s grades, the victim’s scores on standardized tests, and the victim’s future educational outlook (internal summary). Therefore, schools need to implement campus-wide, comprehensive antibullying programs (transition).

While not sounding like the more traditional transition, this internal summary helps readers summarize the content of that main point. The sentence that follows then leads to the next major part of the speech, which is going to discuss the importance of antibullying programs.

Have you ever been on a road trip and watched the green rectangular mile signs pass you by? Fifty miles to go. Twenty-five miles to go. One mile to go. Signposts within a speech function the same way. A signpost A guide a speaker gives her or his audience to help the audience keep up with the content of a speech. is a guide a speaker gives her or his audience to help the audience keep up with the content of a speech. If you look at Table 10.1 "Transition Words" and look at the “common sequence patterns,” you’ll see a series of possible signpost options. In essence, we use these short phrases at the beginning of a piece of information to help our audience members keep up with what we’re discussing. For example, if you were giving a speech whose main point was about the three functions of credibility, you could use internal signposts like this:

  • The first function of credibility is competence.
  • The second function of credibility is trustworthiness.
  • The final function of credibility is caring/goodwill.

Signposts are simply meant to help your audience keep up with your speech, so the more simplistic your signposts are, the easier it is for your audience to follow.

In addition to helping audience members keep up with a speech, signposts can also be used to highlight specific information the speaker thinks is important. Where the other signposts were designed to show the way (like highway markers), signposts that call attention to specific pieces of information are more like billboards. Words and phrases that are useful for highlighting information can be found in Table 10.1 "Transition Words" under the category “emphasis.” All these words are designed to help you call attention to what you are saying so that the audience will also recognize the importance of the information.

  • Transitions are very important because they help an audience stay on top of the information that is being presented to them. Without transitions, audiences are often left lost and the ultimate goal of the speech is not accomplished.
  • Specific transition words, like those found in Table 10.1 "Transition Words" , can be useful in constructing effective transitions.
  • In addition to major transitions between the main points of a speech, speakers can utilize internal previews, internal summaries, and signposts to help focus audience members on the information contained within a speech.
  • Using the main points you created earlier in this chapter, create clear transitions between each main point. Look at the possible transition words in Table 10.1 "Transition Words" See which words are best suited for your speech. Try your transitions out on a friend or classmate to see if the transition makes sense to other people.
  • Take your most complicated main point and create an internal preview for that main point and then end the point with an internal summary.
  • Think about your current speech. Where can you use signposts to help focus your audience’s attention? Try at least two different ways of phrasing your signposts and then decide which one is better to use.

10.4 Analyzing a Speech Body

Learning objective.

  • See what a full speech body looks like in order to identify major components of the speech body.

Thus far this chapter has focused on how you go about creating main points and organizing the body of your speech. In this section we’re going to examine the three main points of an actual speech. Before we start analyzing the introduction, please read the paragraphs that follow.

Smart Dust Speech Body

To help us understand smart dust, we will begin by first examining what smart dust is. Dr. Kris Pister, a professor in the robotics lab at the University of California at Berkeley, originally conceived the idea of smart dust in 1998 as part of a project funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). According to a 2001 article written by Bret Warneke, Matt Last, Brian Liebowitz, and Kris Pister titled “Smart Dust: Communicating with a Cubic-Millimeter Computer” published in Computer , Pister’s goal was to build a device that contained a built-in sensor, communication device, and a small computer that could be integrated into a cubic millimeter package. For comparison purposes, Doug Steel, in a 2005 white paper titled “Smart Dust” written for C. T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston, noted that a single grain of rice has a volume of five cubic millimeters. Each individual piece of dust, called a mote, would then have the ability to interact with other motes and supercomputers. As Steve Lohr wrote in the January 30, 2010, edition of the New York Times in an article titled “Smart Dust? Not Quite, but We’re Getting There,” smart dust could eventually consist of “tiny digital sensors, strewn around the globe, gathering all sorts of information and communicating with powerful computer networks to monitor, measure, and understand the physical world in new ways.”

Now that we’ve examined what smart dust is, let’s switch gears and talk about some of the military applications for smart dust. Because smart dust was originally conceptualized under a grant from DARPA, military uses of smart dust have been widely theorized and examined. According to the Smart Dust website, smart dust could eventually be used for “battlefield surveillance, treaty monitoring, transportation monitoring, scud hunting” and other clear military applications. Probably the number one benefit of smart dust in the military environment is its surveillance abilities. Major Scott Dickson in a Blue Horizons Paper written for the Center for Strategy and Technology for the United States Air Force Air War College, sees smart dust as helping the military in battlespace awareness, homeland security, and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) identification. Furthermore, Major Dickson also believes it may be possible to create smart dust that has the ability to defeat communications jamming equipment created by foreign governments, which could help the US military to not only communicate among itself, but could also increase communications with civilians in military combat zones. On a much larger scale, smart dust could even help the US military and NASA protect the earth. According to a 2010 article written by Jessica Griggs in New Scientist , one of the first benefits of smart dust could be an early defense warning for space storms and other debris that could be catastrophic.

Now that we’ve explored some of the military benefits of smart dust, let’s switch gears and see how smart dust may be able to have an impact on our daily lives. According to the smart dust project website, smart dust could quickly become a part of our daily lives. Everything from pasting smart dust particles to our finger tips to create a virtual computer keyboard to inventory control to product quality control have been discussed as possible applications for smart dust. Steve Lohr in his 2010 New York Times article wrote, “The applications for sensor-based computing, experts say, include buildings that manage their own energy use, bridges that sense motion and metal fatigue to tell engineers they need repairs, cars that track traffic patterns and report potholes, and fruit and vegetable shipments that tell grocers when they ripen and begin to spoil.” Medically, according to the smart dust project website, smart dust could help disabled individuals interface with computers. Theoretically, we could all be injected with smart dust, which relays information to our physicians and detects adverse changes to our body instantly. Smart dust could detect the microscopic formations of cancer cells or alert us when we’ve been infected by a bacteria or virus, which could speed up treatment and prolong all of our lives.

Now that you’ve had a chance to read the body of the speech on smart dust, take a second and attempt to conduct your own analysis of the speech’s body. What are the main points? Do you think the main points make sense? What organizational pattern is used? Are there clear transitions? What other techniques are used to keep the speech moving? Is evidence used to support the speech? Once you’re done analyzing the speech body, look at Table 10.2 "Smart Dust Speech Body Analysis" , which presents our basic analysis of the speech’s body.

Table 10.2 Smart Dust Speech Body Analysis

10.5 Chapter Exercises

Speaking ethically.

Johanna was in the midst of preparing her speech. She’d done the research and found a number of great sources for her speech. The specific purpose of her speech was to persuade a group of wildlife experts to step up their help for saving the water channel between the islands of Maui and Lanai, an area where humpback whales migrate during the winter to give birth.

Johanna had a very strong first point and a strong third point, but she just couldn’t shake the fact that her middle point really was underdeveloped and not as strong as the other two. In fact, the middle point was originally going to be her last point, but when her research went bust she ultimately downgraded the point and sandwiched it in between the other two. Now that she looked at her second point, she realized that the sources weren’t credible and the point should probably be dropped.

In the back of Johanna’s head, she heard that small voice reminding her of the fact that most audiences don’t remember the middle of the speech, so it really won’t matter anyway.

  • Is it unethical to use a main point that you know is underdeveloped?
  • Should a speaker ever purposefully put less credible information in the middle of a speech, knowing that people are less likely to remember that information?
  • If you were Johanna, what would you do?

End-of-Chapter Assessment

Juan is finishing writing his specific purpose. He brainstorms about his specific purpose and finally settles on three topics he plans on talking about during his speech. What are these three topics called?

  • specific topics
  • main points
  • generalized topics
  • specific points
  • main topics

Which speech format does the following outline represent?

  • categorical/topical
  • biographical
  • psychological

Bobby is creating a speech related to the Hawaiian islands. He plans on talking about each of the islands in order from southeast to northwest. Which speech format is probably the most effective for Bobby’s speech?

What is a phrase or sentence that indicates that a speaker is moving from one main point in a speech to another main point in a speech?

  • internal preview
  • internal summary
  • thesis statement

Speech Patterns: Uptalking

Glossary of Grammatical and Rhetorical Terms

  • An Introduction to Punctuation
  • Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia
  • M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester
  • B.A., English, State University of New York

Uptalk is a  speech pattern in which phrases and sentences habitually end with a rising sound, as if the statement were a question . Also known as upspeak, high-rising terminal (HRT), high-rising tone, valley girl speech, Valspeak, talking in questions, rising intonation, upward inflection, interrogatory statement, and Australian Question Intonation (AQI).

The term uptalk was introduced by journalist James Gorman in an "On Language" column in The New York Times, August 15, 1993. However, the speech pattern itself was first recognized in Australia and the U.S. at least two decades earlier.

Examples and Observations

"'I've got the next run at that software thing. I thought you might like to have a look?' "Mark here was using upspeak, ending on an upward inclination, making what he said nearly a question but not quite." (John Lanchester, Capital . W.W. Norton, 2012)

"HRT stands for high-rise terminals. What did you think I meant? It's the technical term for 'uptalk' --the way kids speak so that every sentence ends with an interrogative tone so that it sounds like a question even when it's a statement? Like that, in fact. . . . "While we were on holiday in the US this summer, my kids spent two weeks at that great American childhood institution: camp. "'So what did you do today?' I'd ask my daughter at collection time. "'Well, we went canoeing on the lake? Which was, like, really really fun? And then we had storytelling in the barn? And we all had to tell a story about, like, where we're from or our family or something?' "Yep, she was uptalking." (Matt Seaton, The Guardian , Sep. 21, 2001)

Interpreting Uptalk (Politeness Strategies)

"[Penelope] Eckert and [Sally] McConnell-Ginet [in Language and Gender , 2003] discuss the use of questioning intonation on statements, often termed uptalk or upspeak. They suggest that the high-rise terminal, which characterises 'Valley Girl" speech, the speech style of young women primarily in California, is often analysed as a signal that those who use it do not know what they are talking about, since statements are transformed by this intonational pattern into what sound like questions. Rather than accepting this negative view of uptalk, Eckert and McConnell-Ginet suggest that questioning intonation may simply signal that the person is not giving the final word on the matter, that they are open to the topic continuing, or even that they are not yet ready to cede their turn." (Sara Mills and Louise Mullany, Language, Gender and Feminism: Theory, Methodology and Practice . Routledge, 2011)

Purposes of Uptalk

"Some speakers--especially women--deploy seemingly random question marks to hold the floor and fend off interruptions. Powerful people of both genders use it to coerce their underlings and build consensus. Penelope Eckert, a linguist at Stanford University, says one of her students observed Jamba Juice (JMBA) customers and found that fathers of undergraduates scored as the biggest uptalkers. 'They were being polite and trying to mitigate their male authoritativeness,' she says." (Caroline Winter, "Is It Useful to Sound Like an Idiot?" Bloomberg Businessweek , April 24-May 4, 2014) "One theory as to why simple declarative statements sound like questions is that in many cases, they actually are. English is a notoriously woolly language, full of ways to say one thing and mean another. The use of uptalk could be a way to subconsciously hint that a simple statement such as 'I think we should choose the left hand turn?' has a hidden meaning. Implicit within the sentence is a question: 'Do you also think we should choose the left hand turn?'" ("The Unstoppable March of the Upward Inflection?" BBC News , August 10, 2014)

Uptalk in Australian English

"Perhaps the most recognizable intonational feature in an accent is the occurrence of high-rising terminals (HRTs) associated with Australian English. Put simply, a high-rising terminal means that there is a noticeable high rise in pitch at the end (terminal) of an utterance . Such an intonation is typical of interrogative syntax (questions) in many English accents, but in Australian, these HRTs also occur in declarative sentences (statements). This is why Australians (and others who have taken up this way of talking) can sound (at least to non-HRT speakers) like they are either always asking questions or are in constant need of confirmation . . .."(Aileen Bloomer, Patrick Griffiths, and Andrew John Merrison, Introducing Language in Use . Routledge, 2005)

Uptalk Among Young People

"Negative attitudes to uptalk are not new. In 1975, the linguist Robin Lakoff drew attention to the pattern in her book Language and Women's Place , which argued that women were socialized to talk in ways that lacked power, authority, and confidence. Rising intonation on declarative sentences was one of the features Lakoff included in her description of 'women's language,' a gendered speech style which in her view both reflected and reproduced its users' subordinate social status. More than two decades later, the rising intonation pattern can be observed among younger speakers of both sexes . . .. "The US uptalk pattern differentiates younger from older speakers. In the British case it is debated whether the increasing use of rising intonation on declaratives is an innovation modeled on recent/current usage in the US or whether the model is Australian English, where the feature was well established even earlier." (Deborah Cameron, Working With Spoken Discourse . Sage, 2001)

  • An Introduction to Declarative Questions
  • Intonation Phrases in Phonetics
  • What is a Question?
  • Understanding English Pronunciation Concepts
  • Direct Question in Grammar
  • Asking Questions in Spanish
  • Beginner's Guide to Declarative Sentences
  • Suprasegmental Definition and Examples
  • Definition of Accent in English Speech
  • Rising and Falling Intonation in Pronunciation
  • Intonation Contour in English Speech
  • Language Acquisition in Children
  • Nonrestrictive Relative Clause
  • AP English Exam: 101 Key Terms
  • How To Stress Syllables in Japanese Pronunciation
  • Question Tags in English

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We develop our language learning skills through speech patterns

Looking at speech patterns throughout history, the processing of language is based on how frequently we hear sounds – which causes gradual language change.

Researchers investigating the changes in speech patterns and sound during the Middle Ages develops what we know about how we process language, looking at what parts of the brain alter our language learning.

The processing capacities of our brains show us that throughout history, our language is constantly changing.

Over centuries, frequently occurring speech patterns become more frequent, this development is due to our brains perceiving, processing, and learning frequently, which thus develops prototypical sound patterns more easily than less frequent ones.

“This second generation of speakers transmits a slightly changed language to their own children.”

Languages from the past are very different from today’s languages

Researchers of the University of Vienna found that modern vocabulary and grammar, as well as speech sounds, as extremely different to languages of the past.

Researchers evaluated over 40,000 words from English texts from the Early Middle Ages. They determined their vowel lengths by using dictionaries or taking neighbouring sounds into account.

Counting the occurrence frequencies of words with long and short vowels, researchers found that most monosyllabic Middle English words had long vowels and only a minority had short vowels.

An example of their work on language adaptation can be seen studying the Early Middle Ages , where the English word ‘make’ was pronounced as “ma-ke” (with two syllables and a short “a” similar to the vowel in cut), whereas in the Late Middle Ages, it was pronounced as “maak” (with one syllable and a long “a” similar to the vowel in father).

Many Middle English words lost their second syllable and lengthened their vowel as it happened for the word make.

What was the reason for this lengthening of vowels in words that lost their second syllable?

Essentially, people prefer speech patterns that occur frequently.

Theresa Matzinger, from the Department of English at the University of Vienna, said: “This means that, when speakers pronounced monosyllabic words with a short vowel, those words sounded ‘strange’ and were not recognised clearly and quickly by listeners because they did not fit the prototypical sound patterns that listeners were used to.

“In contrast, words that fitted the prototypical sound patterns with a long vowel, could be processed by the brain more easily .”

The researchers describe language changes working the way a telephone game would, where over centuries, the easier processibility and learnability of monosyllabic words with long vowels influenced that more and more monosyllabic words got long vowels.

This gradual language change can be seen by the fact that our grandparents, ourselves, and our children speak slightly differently.

language learning, speech patterns

Matzinger said: “One can imagine language change like a telephone game. One generation of speakers speaks a particular language variety. The children of this generation perceive, process and acquire frequent patterns from their parents’ generation more easily than less frequent ones and therefore use those patterns even more frequently.

“This second generation of speakers then transmits a slightly changed language to their own children. In our study, we showed that the general capacity of our brain to preferentially perceive and learn frequent patterns is an important factor that influences how languages change.”

Overall, they noted that this process of language learning and changing, and speech pattern adaptation, happens over many generations and over centuries – to a point where language can change so much that past varieties are hard to understand for people today.

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Meanings of speech and pattern.

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(Definition of speech and pattern from the Cambridge English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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  • Definition of speech
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  • Presentation Hacks

Why Simple Speech Patterns Are More Effective in Presentations

  • By: Stephanie Fulton

Speeches and memory go hand in hand. The best way to build up impact for your audience to make your speech unforgettable. Stage presence, vocal volume, body language and audience engagement all help create memorable moments during speeches. But content is king. The more your message can connect with a wider audience, the more they will remember it. The key is to keep it simple. Here are our reasons why simple speech patterns are more effective in presentations.

speech patterns

One person who is making a lot of speeches right now is President Donald Trump. The president has a very particular style of speech that makes his messages easy to remember. NPR broke down President Trump’s speech patterns and their effectiveness. Here are the lessons public speakers can learn from the president.

Repetition and Recitation

If you haven’t noticed, President Trump repeats himself a lot. With just a few minutes, he says the same message over and over. With all content aside, the messages President Trump says are easy to remember and repeat. “The combination of basic language and reiteration makes it easier for listeners to remember and recite his sound bites than those of the professorial Mr. Obama, who spoke in logically progressing paragraphs.” That’s writer Teddy Waynes describing the two qualities in Trump’s speech patterns. The repetitions lead to news programs and audiences repeating the message.

Repetition works effectively in presentations. The Ethos3 philosophy is tell your audience what you are going to say, say it, then tell them what you just said. Repetition doesn’t have to be repetitive. Add emphasis, pauses, visual cues and hand gestures to make your main point become memorable.

Simple and Social

President Trump’s speech patterns include simple and conversational words. His vocabulary doesn’t include complex words. Instead he speaks in a style that is easily heard and understood by everyone. The president is also a bit spontaneous and reacts to the people in his crowds or the interview he is speaking to. Linguistics professor Joanne Scheibman says, “In spontaneous spoken interactions, we typically have the benefit of greater shared physical and cultural context than in written discourse, so we don’t have to say everything we mean.” She continues, “we can say this guy or that thing or we or they without specifying exactly what or who we’re referring to because we assume our conversational partners have the background information they need to infer what we mean.”

The next time you give a presentation, use a speech pattern that is simple and social. Simple words will be easier for your audience to remember. Interact with your audience too. React to their responses and generate conversation after your presentation is over.

Simple speech patterns have four elements that go hand in hand. Repeating yourself will lead to recitation of your message. Speaking with simple words will make your message easier to share socially. For more presentation tips and tricks, check out these posts from the Ethos3 blog:

Simplify Your Language To Sound Smarter. Here’s Why.

4 Ways To Improve Your Public Speaking

Simple Communication Skills From A TED Talk

Stephanie Fulton

Stephanie Fulton

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StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-.

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StatPearls [Internet].

Speech assessment.

Yasmin Naqvi ; Ryan Winters .

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Last Update: May 1, 2023 .

  • Definition/Introduction

Speech is a communicative skill that enables us to understand each other and to interact. It becomes a means of communication, allowing us to share ideas, beliefs, and opinions. When this process is disrupted, and the normal flow of receptive and expressive aspects of speech is compromised, a speech assessment is carried out to assess a disturbance in any part of this process. Disturbances of speech can come in the form of content formation (i.e., the patient has difficulty expressing the desired ideas in the form of spoken words) or of articulation (i.e., the patient can express their ideas in spoken form but has one or more problems physically producing the sounds necessary for intelligible speech). A speech assessment, together with formal neurological evaluation, can identify specific speech problems or patterns of speech problems, as well as propose solutions. [1]

Speech assessment is a method to evaluate and diagnose problems in adults and children of speaking, swallowing, comprehension, and writing. Such evaluation may be warranted due to neurological diseases, stroke, trauma, injury, tumors, cerebral palsy, cleft palate, orofacial musculature, hearing impairment, stammering, articulation errors, motor speech disorders, and many other conditions. [2]

Formal speech assessment is performed by a trained speech and language pathologist, and begins with a consultation in the office with the patient and potentially with family members. Reviews of prior records and treatment will be conducted, and formal characterization of receptive and expressive speech will be conducted, including articulation, fluency, content, and clarity of speech, and potentially evaluate breathing and swallowing. Objective testing such as videostroboscopy, nasometry, or rhinomanometry may be obtained, depending on the specific disorder under investigation. [3]

  • Issues of Concern

Speech is the verbal expression of thoughts and ideas. In many cases, speech is used to communicate via a shared language. Language is an agreed-upon rule-based code we use to communicate. Parents may present with a range of concerns regarding their children when they choose to consult a speech-language pathologist (SLP). These may include but are not limited to, the child’s patterns of speech, cognitive, and social skills in contrast to their peer group. Some parents may be concerned that their child does not match up to other children their age and appears to be lagging in milestones. These may include behavioral and hearing issues also.

Multiple tests have been devised to assess oral motor disorders. One of them is the Fletcher time-by-count test of diadochokinetic syllable rate. The diadochokinetic (DDK) rate is an assessment tool used by SLPs to measure the repetitions of sounds within a set period of time. It measures how rapid one can correctly repeat a series of rapid, alternating sounds. These are called 'tokens.' Words with one, two, or three syllables are included in tokens. For e.g. 'puh', 'puh-tuh', or 'puh-tuh-kuh'. DDK rates vary between different age groups and patients with varying neurological conditions. [4]

Normal speech depends on the functional and structural integrity of the velopharynx. This is a complex and dynamic structure that uncouples the oral and nasal cavities during sound production. Dysfunction of the velopharyngeal valve leads to hypernasality, nasal air emission, and compensatory articulation errors, all of which may impair speech intelligibility. Functional voice disorders also come under speech pathology and therapy services, in both professional and casual voice-users.

When we speak or swallow, a thin sheet of musculo-mucosal tissue called velum disunites the oropharynx and nasopharynx during speaking and swallowing. Cleft palate is a congenital deformity commonly causing velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI), though VPI can exist independent of cleft palate also. VPI compromises speech sounds, decreases the comprehension of speech and swallowing efficacy due to improper closure of soft palate that is closed during swallowing and speaking. If the velum is not closed fully against the posterior wall of the pharynx at Passavant's ridge, this poor closure will result in nasal regurgitation and resonance disorders (hypernasality and/or hyponasality). [5]  

Speech pathologists continue to develop rehabilitative strategies under swallowing management programs also. As speech and swallowing rely on many of the same sensory and motor facilities, they are necessarily related. Oral medications may also need modification in texture so the patient can swallow them safely. Likewise, daily diet modifications may be required in patients suffering from dysphagia. As patients progress through such swallowing management programs, nasogastric tube feeding, a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy may also be suggested via speech assessment depending on the type and severity of swallowing difficulty. Swallowing difficulties are also very common in neonatal populations, and there is a distinct sub-specialty of speech pathology dedicated to neonatal feeding. Since speech assessment is a multifactorial process, it is inclusive of the individual, their family history, health, and socio-economic status enabling insight into the circumstances relevant to individual patients' needs. For example, a child who is not responsive to the parents' or the clinician’s verbal commands may be suffering from hearing impairment, or other auditory dysfunctions. Autism Spectrum Disorder and other disorders might also be underlying issues that have not been diagnosed prior, but can be elucidated through a thorough speech assessment. Clinical conditions and communication disorders are coexisting conditions in cases of cleft palate, hearing deficit, traumatic or congenital brain injury, and anomalies of the orofacial structure and difficulty in deglutition (dysphagia). [6] [7]

Milestones are the markers that represent a standard of normal development, and there are well-defined speech, swallowing, and language skills milestones. If a child’s speech, understanding, cognition is not age-appropriate or is not like their peer group, then further investigation is warranted. There are many potential culprits, and a formal assessment of the child's hearing ability, cognition, anatomy, and home/family environment will be investigated.

  • Clinical Significance

Speech assessment, through its multifactorial approach, includes the child or individual’s family history, health, and socioeconomic status. It gives an insight into the circumstances they stem from, including cultural and ethnic backgrounds, which is especially relevant in multi-lingual households. [8]

A child, for example, who is not responsive to the parents or the clinician’s verbal command, may be suffering from hearing impairment or other auditory dysfunctions. Autism Spectrum Disorder and other disorders might also be underlying issues that have not been diagnosed but can be done so through thorough speech assessment. Clinical conditions and communication disorders are coexisting conditions in cases of cleft palate, hearing deficit, traumatic or congenital brain injury, and anomalies of the orofacial structure and difficulty in deglutition (dysphagia). [9]

SLPs are trained in the management of swallowing disorders as well, and there is a significant overlap with speaking difficulties. In addition to the phonatory functions of the vocal folds, they serve a protective function during deglutition. Impaired oropharyngeal phase leads to aspiration of saliva or other pathogens, including liquids/food. Poor bolus control or weak oral musculature can affect the optimum intraoral pressure that is essential for food propulsion in the esophagus. Patients with neurologic deficits may have poor oral hygiene, which acts as a medium for bacterial and fungal growth. Oral thrush is a common finding in hospitalized patients that have suffered from cerebral vascular accidents or have other neurological conditions that have impaired their speaking and swallowing ability. SLPs are consulted before a patient is started on a solid or semi-solid diet. A proper bedside swallowing test can give a general risk of aspiration in the patient. [10]

Acquired swallowing disorders are prevalent among intensive care unit (ICU) patients. Such patients face potential malnutrition, as well as problems with the administration of medications. A speech-language pathologist assesses all stages of the swallowing mechanism. In the case of poor oral hygiene, there is an increased chance of vulnerability for developing dysphagia. Early detection of oropharyngeal dysfunction will improve the prognosis and outcome of patients as they say early intervention leads to an early cure in most cases.

In the ICU, when patients are extubated, the first oral intake trial for the assessment of intact swallowing efficacy is conducted by the speech-language pathologist, after which they give the go-ahead for the provision of safe and smooth oral feeding. If any physical symptoms of deglutition are found like coughing, throat clearing during or after the oral trial, or drop in saturation, other ways of feeding are then recommended to fulfill nutritional requirements and medication intake. Rehabilitative strategies are also guided to improve the strength of oral musculature. [11]

Silent aspiration is another important feature when dysphagia is addressed. Patients suffering from dysphagia do not exhibit noticeable symptoms of swallowing difficulties. The observers that include nursing staff, attendants, and even primary consultants are not unaware of the fact that food particles and liquids have entered in patient’s lungs. Specially trained speech pathologists can suggest videofluoroscopy, also known as a modified barium swallowing test. [12]

Stroboscopy is a method of examination of a fast-moving vibrating object, such as the vocal folds. A bright flashing light lasting a fraction of a second (10 microseconds) illuminates the vocal folds. It 'freezes' the movement of the vibrating vocal folds when synchronized with a known frequency of vibration of normal vocal folds. SLPs are trained in the management of swallowing disorders as well, and there is a significant overlap with speaking difficulties. The diagnostic practice of SLPs has been revolutionized by high-speed digital imaging. This method runs at 4000 frames per second. This rate is fast enough to easily visualize the complete movement and behavior of the vocal tract. Multiple procedures like nasometry, stroboscopy, videofluoroscopy, vital stimulation therapy aid in the assessment of speech and swallowing disorders, and improving patient outcome. [13] [14]

Nasometry is a method or term used to describe noninvasive techniques for measuring the size of the velopharyngeal opening. During the articulation of speech using vowel sounds, nasometry measures the nasalance of speech. The nasality of speech is usually determined by the size of the velopharyngeal opening. [15]

  • Nursing, Allied Health, and Interprofessional Team Interventions

Speech-language pathologists are essential components of the interprofessional team caring for patients with voice or swallowing complaints. This team will often include one or more physicians, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, mid-level providers, and many others. [16]  Working in collaboration and communication with each other will help in early identification of patients in need of SLP evaluation and therapy, and help improve patient outcomes. [Level 5]

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Disclosure: Yasmin Naqvi declares no relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies.

Disclosure: Ryan Winters declares no relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies.

This book is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ ), which permits others to distribute the work, provided that the article is not altered or used commercially. You are not required to obtain permission to distribute this article, provided that you credit the author and journal.

  • Cite this Page Naqvi Y, Winters R. Speech Assessment. [Updated 2023 May 1]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-.

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Module 6: Organizing and Outlining Your Speech

Topical organization, learning objectives.

Explain the topical organizational pattern for speeches and identify when it is best used.

A topical pattern is the most common way to structure speeches, particularly speeches of information, because it is relevant to nearly any topic or type of speech. However, you should make sure to explore all other organizational patterns before selecting it in case your topic fits better elsewhere. A topical structure involves dividing your central idea into topic categories or sub-topics that surround the main topic. You should devote roughly the same amount of time to each category and each category should be distinct from each other.

A set of bins labeled Stickers, Stamps, Stencils

Think of topical organization as a set of boxes, bins, or drawers. Items are organized according to which drawer they go in.

For example, a speech about the benefits of listening to music while exercising could follow a topical structure divided between the categories of how music can (1) increase stamina, (2) decrease boredom, and (3) improve coordination. Each sub-topic or main point is distinct, but ties back to the main speech topic.

The advantage of using a topical speech pattern is that it creates an organizational structure that is specific to the speech topic. Some speech topics don’t fit into any other category. They can’t be organized chronologically because dates are not involved. They can’t be organized spatially because geography or space isn’t involved. They don’t have steps to follow. They aren’t presenting a problem or a solution. It is important to eliminate all the other possible speech patterns before selecting topical. Once topical is selected, then the specific categories must be determined next. Make sure to select categories that are condensed enough for the speech time limit. For example, if you are explaining the five types of hurricanes in a five-minute speech, you may not have time to speak of each one individually and therefore would need to condense some categories together.

Disadvantage

The disadvantage of using a topical speech pattern is that you are limited to the categories selected. It will prove difficult to include anything outside of the categories once writing begins, so be sure that the categories selected are the most important ones to focus on and limit it to no more than five categories. Also, transitioning between categories and connecting them to one another becomes more crucial in a topical outline. A transition sentence which ties category 1 to category 2, will be important in creating an organizational, logical flow of ideas. It can be easy to sound disorganized if this connection between topics is unclear or disconnected.

Now that we have examined what a topical pattern is, consider which topics fit best into this pattern. Brainstorm some topics that don’t fit elsewhere and measure them against the other organization options to be sure topical is the best one.

To Watch: Nick Fuhrman, “The One Thing All great teachers do”

In this topically organized speech, professor and environmental educator Nick Fuhrman talks about teaching. Although the title speaks to “one” thing that great teachers do, Fuhrman lists four: celebrate mistakes, appreciate difference, relay feedback, and evaluate themselves. These four topics provide the organizational structure for the speech.

You can view the transcript for “The One Thing All Great Teachers Do | Nick Fuhrman | TEDxUGA” here (opens in new window) .

What to watch for:

Elsewhere in this course we advise against using live animals as visual aids. This is true unless A) you are expert in handling the animals in public performance and B) you have explicit permission from the event organizers to share the stage with a snake.

  • The One Thing All Great Teachers Do | Nick Fuhrman | TEDxUGA. Provided by : TEDx Talks. Located at : https://youtu.be/WwTpfVQgkU0 . License : Other . License Terms : Standard YouTube License
  • Topical Organization. Authored by : Susan Bagley-Koyle with Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Topical Organization. Authored by : Misti Wills with Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, understanding the 8 parts of speech: definitions and examples.

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General Education

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If you’re trying to learn the grammatical rules of English, you’ve probably been asked to learn the parts of speech. But what are parts of speech and how many are there? How do you know which words are classified in each part of speech? 

The answers to these questions can be a bit complicated—English is a difficult language to learn and understand. Don’t fret, though! We’re going to answer each of these questions for you with a full guide to the parts of speech that explains the following: 

  • What the parts of speech are, including a comprehensive parts of speech list
  • Parts of speech definitions for the individual parts of speech. (If you’re looking for information on a specific part of speech, you can search for it by pressing Command + F, then typing in the part of speech you’re interested in.) 
  • Parts of speech examples
  • A ten question quiz covering parts of speech definitions and parts of speech examples

We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s begin!

Feature Image: (Gavina S / Wikimedia Commons)

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What Are Parts of Speech? 

The parts of speech definitions in English can vary, but here’s a widely accepted one: a part of speech is a category of words that serve a similar grammatical purpose in sentences.  

To make that definition even simpler, a part of speech is just a category for similar types of words . All of the types of words included under a single part of speech function in similar ways when they’re used properly in sentences.

In the English language, it’s commonly accepted that there are 8 parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, conjunctions, interjections, and prepositions. Each of these categories plays a different role in communicating meaning in the English language. Each of the eight parts of speech—which we might also call the “main classes” of speech—also have subclasses. In other words, we can think of each of the eight parts of speech as being general categories for different types within their part of speech . There are different types of nouns, different types of verbs, different types of adjectives, adverbs, pronouns...you get the idea. 

And that’s an overview of what a part of speech is! Next, we’ll explain each of the 8 parts of speech—definitions and examples included for each category. 

body-people-drinking-coffee-with-dog

There are tons of nouns in this picture. Can you find them all? 

Nouns are a class of words that refer, generally, to people and living creatures, objects, events, ideas, states of being, places, and actions. You’ve probably heard English nouns referred to as “persons, places, or things.” That definition is a little simplistic, though—while nouns do include people, places, and things, “things” is kind of a vague term. I t’s important to recognize that “things” can include physical things—like objects or belongings—and nonphysical, abstract things—like ideas, states of existence, and actions. 

Since there are many different types of nouns, we’ll include several examples of nouns used in a sentence while we break down the subclasses of nouns next!

Subclasses of Nouns, Including Examples

As an open class of words, the category of “nouns” has a lot of subclasses. The most common and important subclasses of nouns are common nouns, proper nouns, concrete nouns, abstract nouns, collective nouns, and count and mass nouns. Let’s break down each of these subclasses!

Common Nouns and Proper Nouns

Common nouns are generic nouns—they don’t name specific items. They refer to people (the man, the woman), living creatures (cat, bird), objects (pen, computer, car), events (party, work), ideas (culture, freedom), states of being (beauty, integrity), and places (home, neighborhood, country) in a general way. 

Proper nouns are sort of the counterpart to common nouns. Proper nouns refer to specific people, places, events, or ideas. Names are the most obvious example of proper nouns, like in these two examples: 

Common noun: What state are you from?

Proper noun: I’m from Arizona .

Whereas “state” is a common noun, Arizona is a proper noun since it refers to a specific state. Whereas “the election” is a common noun, “Election Day” is a proper noun. Another way to pick out proper nouns: the first letter is often capitalized. If you’d capitalize the word in a sentence, it’s almost always a proper noun. 

Concrete Nouns and Abstract Nouns

Concrete nouns are nouns that can be identified through the five senses. Concrete nouns include people, living creatures, objects, and places, since these things can be sensed in the physical world. In contrast to concrete nouns, abstract nouns are nouns that identify ideas, qualities, concepts, experiences, or states of being. Abstract nouns cannot be detected by the five senses. Here’s an example of concrete and abstract nouns used in a sentence: 

Concrete noun: Could you please fix the weedeater and mow the lawn ?

Abstract noun: Aliyah was delighted to have the freedom to enjoy the art show in peace .

See the difference? A weedeater and the lawn are physical objects or things, and freedom and peace are not physical objects, though they’re “things” people experience! Despite those differences, they all count as nouns. 

Collective Nouns, Count Nouns, and Mass Nouns

Nouns are often categorized based on number and amount. Collective nouns are nouns that refer to a group of something—often groups of people or a type of animal. Team , crowd , and herd are all examples of collective nouns. 

Count nouns are nouns that can appear in the singular or plural form, can be modified by numbers, and can be described by quantifying determiners (e.g. many, most, more, several). For example, “bug” is a count noun. It can occur in singular form if you say, “There is a bug in the kitchen,” but it can also occur in the plural form if you say, “There are many bugs in the kitchen.” (In the case of the latter, you’d call an exterminator...which is an example of a common noun!) Any noun that can accurately occur in one of these singular or plural forms is a count noun. 

Mass nouns are another type of noun that involve numbers and amount. Mass nouns are nouns that usually can’t be pluralized, counted, or quantified and still make sense grammatically. “Charisma” is an example of a mass noun (and an abstract noun!). For example, you could say, “They’ve got charisma, ” which doesn’t imply a specific amount. You couldn’t say, “They’ve got six charismas, ” or, “They’ve got several charismas .” It just doesn’t make sense! 

body-people-running-relay-race

Verbs are all about action...just like these runners. 

A verb is a part of speech that, when used in a sentence, communicates an action, an occurrence, or a state of being . In sentences, verbs are the most important part of the predicate, which explains or describes what the subject of the sentence is doing or how they are being. And, guess what? All sentences contain verbs!

There are many words in the English language that are classified as verbs. A few common verbs include the words run, sing, cook, talk, and clean. These words are all verbs because they communicate an action performed by a living being. We’ll look at more specific examples of verbs as we discuss the subclasses of verbs next!

Subclasses of Verbs, Including Examples

Like nouns, verbs have several subclasses. The subclasses of verbs include copular or linking verbs, intransitive verbs, transitive verbs, and ditransitive or double transitive verbs. Let’s dive into these subclasses of verbs!

Copular or Linking Verbs

Copular verbs, or linking verbs, are verbs that link a subject with its complement in a sentence. The most familiar linking verb is probably be. Here’s a list of other common copular verbs in English: act, be, become, feel, grow, seem, smell, and taste. 

So how do copular verbs work? Well, in a sentence, if we said, “Michi is ,” and left it at that, it wouldn’t make any sense. “Michi,” the subject, needs to be connected to a complement by the copular verb “is.” Instead, we could say, “Michi is leaving.” In that instance, is links the subject of the sentence to its complement. 

Transitive Verbs, Intransitive Verbs, and Ditransitive Verbs

Transitive verbs are verbs that affect or act upon an object. When unattached to an object in a sentence, a transitive verb does not make sense. Here’s an example of a transitive verb attached to (and appearing before) an object in a sentence: 

Please take the clothes to the dry cleaners.

In this example, “take” is a transitive verb because it requires an object—”the clothes”—to make sense. “The clothes” are the objects being taken. “Please take” wouldn’t make sense by itself, would it? That’s because the transitive verb “take,” like all transitive verbs, transfers its action onto another being or object. 

Conversely, intransitive verbs don’t require an object to act upon in order to make sense in a sentence. These verbs make sense all on their own! For instance, “They ran ,” “We arrived ,” and, “The car stopped ” are all examples of sentences that contain intransitive verbs. 

Finally, ditransitive verbs, or double transitive verbs, are a bit more complicated. Ditransitive verbs are verbs that are followed by two objects in a sentence . One of the objects has the action of the ditransitive verb done to it, and the other object has the action of the ditransitive verb directed towards it. Here’s an example of what that means in a sentence: 

I cooked Nathan a meal.

In this example, “cooked” is a ditransitive verb because it modifies two objects: Nathan and meal . The meal has the action of “cooked” done to it, and “Nathan” has the action of the verb directed towards him. 

body-rainbow-colored-chalk

Adjectives are descriptors that help us better understand a sentence. A common adjective type is color.

#3: Adjectives

Here’s the simplest definition of adjectives: adjectives are words that describe other words . Specifically, adjectives modify nouns and noun phrases. In sentences, adjectives appear before nouns and pronouns (they have to appear before the words they describe!). 

Adjectives give more detail to nouns and pronouns by describing how a noun looks, smells, tastes, sounds, or feels, or its state of being or existence. . For example, you could say, “The girl rode her bike.” That sentence doesn’t have any adjectives in it, but you could add an adjective before both of the nouns in the sentence—”girl” and “bike”—to give more detail to the sentence. It might read like this: “The young girl rode her red bike.”   You can pick out adjectives in a sentence by asking the following questions: 

  • Which one? 
  • What kind? 
  • How many? 
  • Whose’s? 

We’ll look at more examples of adjectives as we explore the subclasses of adjectives next!

Subclasses of Adjectives, Including Examples

Subclasses of adjectives include adjective phrases, comparative adjectives, superlative adjectives, and determiners (which include articles, possessive adjectives, and demonstratives). 

Adjective Phrases

An adjective phrase is a group of words that describe a noun or noun phrase in a sentence. Adjective phrases can appear before the noun or noun phrase in a sentence, like in this example: 

The extremely fragile vase somehow did not break during the move.

In this case, extremely fragile describes the vase. On the other hand, adjective phrases can appear after the noun or noun phrase in a sentence as well: 

The museum was somewhat boring. 

Again, the phrase somewhat boring describes the museum. The takeaway is this: adjective phrases describe the subject of a sentence with greater detail than an individual adjective. 

Comparative Adjectives and Superlative Adjectives

Comparative adjectives are used in sentences where two nouns are compared. They function to compare the differences between the two nouns that they modify. In sentences, comparative adjectives often appear in this pattern and typically end with -er. If we were to describe how comparative adjectives function as a formula, it might look something like this: 

Noun (subject) + verb + comparative adjective + than + noun (object).

Here’s an example of how a comparative adjective would work in that type of sentence: 

The horse was faster than the dog.

The adjective faster compares the speed of the horse to the speed of the dog. Other common comparative adjectives include words that compare distance ( higher, lower, farther ), age ( younger, older ), size and dimensions ( bigger, smaller, wider, taller, shorter ), and quality or feeling ( better, cleaner, happier, angrier ). 

Superlative adjectives are adjectives that describe the extremes of a quality that applies to a subject being compared to a group of objects . Put more simply, superlative adjectives help show how extreme something is. In sentences, superlative adjectives usually appear in this structure and end in -est : 

Noun (subject) + verb + the + superlative adjective + noun (object).

Here’s an example of a superlative adjective that appears in that type of sentence: 

Their story was the funniest story. 

In this example, the subject— story —is being compared to a group of objects—other stories. The superlative adjective “funniest” implies that this particular story is the funniest out of all the stories ever, period. Other common superlative adjectives are best, worst, craziest, and happiest... though there are many more than that! 

It’s also important to know that you can often omit the object from the end of the sentence when using superlative adjectives, like this: “Their story was the funniest.” We still know that “their story” is being compared to other stories without the object at the end of the sentence.

Determiners

The last subclass of adjectives we want to look at are determiners. Determiners are words that determine what kind of reference a noun or noun phrase makes. These words are placed in front of nouns to make it clear what the noun is referring to. Determiners are an example of a part of speech subclass that contains a lot of subclasses of its own. Here is a list of the different types of determiners: 

  • Definite article: the
  • Indefinite articles : a, an 
  • Demonstratives: this, that, these, those
  • Pronouns and possessive determiners: my, your, his, her, its, our, their
  • Quantifiers : a little, a few, many, much, most, some, any, enough
  • Numbers: one, twenty, fifty
  • Distributives: all, both, half, either, neither, each, every
  • Difference words : other, another
  • Pre-determiners: such, what, rather, quite

Here are some examples of how determiners can be used in sentences: 

Definite article: Get in the car.  

Demonstrative: Could you hand me that magazine?  

Possessive determiner: Please put away your clothes. 

Distributive: He ate all of the pie. 

Though some of the words above might not seem descriptive, they actually do describe the specificity and definiteness, relationship, and quantity or amount of a noun or noun phrase. For example, the definite article “the” (a type of determiner) indicates that a noun refers to a specific thing or entity. The indefinite article “an,” on the other hand, indicates that a noun refers to a nonspecific entity. 

One quick note, since English is always more complicated than it seems: while articles are most commonly classified as adjectives, they can also function as adverbs in specific situations, too. Not only that, some people are taught that determiners are their own part of speech...which means that some people are taught there are 9 parts of speech instead of 8! 

It can be a little confusing, which is why we have a whole article explaining how articles function as a part of speech to help clear things up . 

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Adverbs can be used to answer questions like "when?" and "how long?"

Adverbs are words that modify verbs, adjectives (including determiners), clauses, prepositions, and sentences. Adverbs typically answer the questions how?, in what way?, when?, where?, and to what extent? In answering these questions, adverbs function to express frequency, degree, manner, time, place, and level of certainty . Adverbs can answer these questions in the form of single words, or in the form of adverbial phrases or adverbial clauses. 

Adverbs are commonly known for being words that end in -ly, but there’s actually a bit more to adverbs than that, which we’ll dive into while we look at the subclasses of adverbs!

Subclasses Of Adverbs, Including Examples

There are many types of adverbs, but the main subclasses we’ll look at are conjunctive adverbs, and adverbs of place, time, manner, degree, and frequency. 

Conjunctive Adverbs

Conjunctive adverbs look like coordinating conjunctions (which we’ll talk about later!), but they are actually their own category: conjunctive adverbs are words that connect independent clauses into a single sentence . These adverbs appear after a semicolon and before a comma in sentences, like in these two examples: 

She was exhausted; nevertheless , she went for a five mile run. 

They didn’t call; instead , they texted.  

Though conjunctive adverbs are frequently used to create shorter sentences using a semicolon and comma, they can also appear at the beginning of sentences, like this: 

He chopped the vegetables. Meanwhile, I boiled the pasta.  

One thing to keep in mind is that conjunctive adverbs come with a comma. When you use them, be sure to include a comma afterward! 

There are a lot of conjunctive adverbs, but some common ones include also, anyway, besides, finally, further, however, indeed, instead, meanwhile, nevertheless, next, nonetheless, now, otherwise, similarly, then, therefore, and thus.  

Adverbs of Place, Time, Manner, Degree, and Frequency

There are also adverbs of place, time, manner, degree, and frequency. Each of these types of adverbs express a different kind of meaning. 

Adverbs of place express where an action is done or where an event occurs. These are used after the verb, direct object, or at the end of a sentence. A sentence like “She walked outside to watch the sunset” uses outside as an adverb of place. 

Adverbs of time explain when something happens. These adverbs are used at the beginning or at the end of sentences. In a sentence like “The game should be over soon,” soon functions as an adverb of time. 

Adverbs of manner describe the way in which something is done or how something happens. These are the adverbs that usually end in the familiar -ly.  If we were to write “She quickly finished her homework,” quickly is an adverb of manner. 

Adverbs of degree tell us the extent to which something happens or occurs. If we were to say “The play was quite interesting,” quite tells us the extent of how interesting the play was. Thus, quite is an adverb of degree.  

Finally, adverbs of frequency express how often something happens . In a sentence like “They never know what to do with themselves,” never is an adverb of frequency. 

Five subclasses of adverbs is a lot, so we’ve organized the words that fall under each category in a nifty table for you here: 

It’s important to know about these subclasses of adverbs because many of them don’t follow the old adage that adverbs end in -ly. 

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Here's a helpful list of pronouns. (Attanata / Flickr )

#5: Pronouns

Pronouns are words that can be substituted for a noun or noun phrase in a sentence . Pronouns function to make sentences less clunky by allowing people to avoid repeating nouns over and over. For example, if you were telling someone a story about your friend Destiny, you wouldn’t keep repeating their name over and over again every time you referred to them. Instead, you’d use a pronoun—like they or them—to refer to Destiny throughout the story. 

Pronouns are typically short words, often only two or three letters long. The most familiar pronouns in the English language are they, she, and he. But these aren’t the only pronouns. There are many more pronouns in English that fall under different subclasses!

Subclasses of Pronouns, Including Examples

There are many subclasses of pronouns, but the most commonly used subclasses are personal pronouns, possessive pronouns, demonstrative pronouns, indefinite pronouns, and interrogative pronouns. 

Personal Pronouns

Personal pronouns are probably the most familiar type of pronoun. Personal pronouns include I, me, you, she, her, him, he, we, us, they, and them. These are called personal pronouns because they refer to a person! Personal pronouns can replace specific nouns in sentences, like a person’s name, or refer to specific groups of people, like in these examples: 

Did you see Gia pole vault at the track meet? Her form was incredible!

The Cycling Club is meeting up at six. They said they would be at the park. 

In both of the examples above, a pronoun stands in for a proper noun to avoid repetitiveness. Her replaces Gia in the first example, and they replaces the Cycling Club in the second example. 

(It’s also worth noting that personal pronouns are one of the easiest ways to determine what point of view a writer is using.) 

Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns are used to indicate that something belongs to or is the possession of someone. The possessive pronouns fall into two categories: limiting and absolute. In a sentence, absolute possessive pronouns can be substituted for the thing that belongs to a person, and limiting pronouns cannot. 

The limiting pronouns are my, your, its, his, her, our, their, and whose, and the absolute pronouns are mine, yours, his, hers, ours, and theirs . Here are examples of a limiting possessive pronoun and absolute possessive pronoun used in a sentence: 

Limiting possessive pronoun: Juan is fixing his car. 

In the example above, the car belongs to Juan, and his is the limiting possessive pronoun that shows the car belongs to Juan. Now, here’s an example of an absolute pronoun in a sentence: 

Absolute possessive pronoun: Did you buy your tickets ? We already bought ours . 

In this example, the tickets belong to whoever we is, and in the second sentence, ours is the absolute possessive pronoun standing in for the thing that “we” possess—the tickets. 

Demonstrative Pronouns, Interrogative Pronouns, and Indefinite Pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns include the words that, this, these, and those. These pronouns stand in for a noun or noun phrase that has already been mentioned in a sentence or conversation. This and these are typically used to refer to objects or entities that are nearby distance-wise, and that and those usually refer to objects or entities that are farther away. Here’s an example of a demonstrative pronoun used in a sentence: 

The books are stacked up in the garage. Can you put those away? 

The books have already been mentioned, and those is the demonstrative pronoun that stands in to refer to them in the second sentence above. The use of those indicates that the books aren’t nearby—they’re out in the garage. Here’s another example: 

Do you need shoes? Here...you can borrow these. 

In this sentence, these refers to the noun shoes. Using the word these tells readers that the shoes are nearby...maybe even on the speaker’s feet! 

Indefinite pronouns are used when it isn’t necessary to identify a specific person or thing . The indefinite pronouns are one, other, none, some, anybody, everybody, and no one. Here’s one example of an indefinite pronoun used in a sentence: 

Promise you can keep a secret? 

Of course. I won’t tell anyone. 

In this example, the person speaking in the second two sentences isn’t referring to any particular people who they won’t tell the secret to. They’re saying that, in general, they won’t tell anyone . That doesn’t specify a specific number, type, or category of people who they won’t tell the secret to, which is what makes the pronoun indefinite. 

Finally, interrogative pronouns are used in questions, and these pronouns include who, what, which, and whose. These pronouns are simply used to gather information about specific nouns—persons, places, and ideas. Let’s look at two examples of interrogative pronouns used in sentences: 

Do you remember which glass was mine? 

What time are they arriving? 

In the first glass, the speaker wants to know more about which glass belongs to whom. In the second sentence, the speaker is asking for more clarity about a specific time. 

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Conjunctions hook phrases and clauses together so they fit like pieces of a puzzle.

#6: Conjunctions

Conjunctions are words that are used to connect words, phrases, clauses, and sentences in the English language. This function allows conjunctions to connect actions, ideas, and thoughts as well. Conjunctions are also used to make lists within sentences. (Conjunctions are also probably the most famous part of speech, since they were immortalized in the famous “Conjunction Junction” song from Schoolhouse Rock .) 

You’re probably familiar with and, but, and or as conjunctions, but let’s look into some subclasses of conjunctions so you can learn about the array of conjunctions that are out there!

Subclasses of Conjunctions, Including Examples

Coordinating conjunctions, subordinating conjunctions, and correlative conjunctions are three subclasses of conjunctions. Each of these types of conjunctions functions in a different way in sentences!

Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions are probably the most familiar type of conjunction. These conjunctions include the words for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so (people often recommend using the acronym FANBOYS to remember the seven coordinating conjunctions!). 

Coordinating conjunctions are responsible for connecting two independent clauses in sentences, but can also be used to connect two words in a sentence. Here are two examples of coordinating conjunctions that connect two independent clauses in a sentence: 

He wanted to go to the movies, but he couldn’t find his car keys. 

They put on sunscreen, and they went to the beach. 

Next, here are two examples of coordinating conjunctions that connect two words: 

Would you like to cook or order in for dinner? 

The storm was loud yet refreshing. 

The two examples above show that coordinating conjunctions can connect different types of words as well. In the first example, the coordinating conjunction “or” connects two verbs; in the second example, the coordinating conjunction “yet” connects two adjectives. 

But wait! Why does the first set of sentences have commas while the second set of sentences doesn’t? When using a coordinating conjunction, put a comma before the conjunction when it’s connecting two complete sentences . Otherwise, there’s no comma necessary. 

Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions are used to link an independent clause to a dependent clause in a sentence. This type of conjunction always appears at the beginning of a dependent clause, which means that subordinating conjunctions can appear at the beginning of a sentence or in the middle of a sentence following an independent clause. (If you’re unsure about what independent and dependent clauses are, be sure to check out our guide to compound sentences.) 

Here is an example of a subordinating conjunction that appears at the beginning of a sentence: 

Because we were hungry, we ordered way too much food. 

Now, here’s an example of a subordinating conjunction that appears in the middle of a sentence, following an independent clause and a comma: 

Rakim was scared after the power went out. 

See? In the example above, the subordinating conjunction after connects the independent clause Rakim was scared to the dependent clause after the power went out. Subordinating conjunctions include (but are not limited to!) the following words: after, as, because, before, even though, one, since, unless, until, whenever, and while. 

Correlative Conjunctions

Finally, correlative conjunctions are conjunctions that come in pairs, like both/and, either/or, and neither/nor. The two correlative conjunctions that come in a pair must appear in different parts of a sentence to make sense— they correlate the meaning in one part of the sentence with the meaning in another part of the sentence . Makes sense, right? 

Here are two examples of correlative conjunctions used in a sentence: 

We’re either going to the Farmer’s Market or the Natural Grocer’s for our shopping today. 

They’re going to have to get dog treats for both Piper and Fudge. 

Other pairs of correlative conjunctions include as many/as, not/but, not only/but also, rather/than, such/that, and whether/or. 

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Interjections are single words that express emotions that end in an exclamation point. Cool!

#7: Interjections 

Interjections are words that often appear at the beginning of sentences or between sentences to express emotions or sentiments such as excitement, surprise, joy, disgust, anger, or even pain. Commonly used interjections include wow!, yikes!, ouch!, or ugh! One clue that an interjection is being used is when an exclamation point appears after a single word (but interjections don’t have to be followed by an exclamation point). And, since interjections usually express emotion or feeling, they’re often referred to as being exclamatory. Wow! 

Interjections don’t come together with other parts of speech to form bigger grammatical units, like phrases or clauses. There also aren’t strict rules about where interjections should appear in relation to other sentences . While it’s common for interjections to appear before sentences that describe an action or event that the interjection helps explain, interjections can appear after sentences that contain the action they’re describing as well. 

Subclasses of Interjections, Including Examples

There are two main subclasses of interjections: primary interjections and secondary interjections. Let’s take a look at these two types of interjections!

Primary Interjections  

Primary interjections are single words, like oh!, wow!, or ouch! that don’t enter into the actual structure of a sentence but add to the meaning of a sentence. Here’s an example of how a primary interjection can be used before a sentence to add to the meaning of the sentence that follows it: 

Ouch ! I just burned myself on that pan!

While someone who hears, I just burned myself on that pan might assume that the person who said that is now in pain, the interjection Ouch! makes it clear that burning oneself on the pan definitely was painful. 

Secondary Interjections

Secondary interjections are words that have other meanings but have evolved to be used like interjections in the English language and are often exclamatory. Secondary interjections can be mixed with greetings, oaths, or swear words. In many cases, the use of secondary interjections negates the original meaning of the word that is being used as an interjection. Let’s look at a couple of examples of secondary interjections here: 

Well , look what the cat dragged in!

Heck, I’d help if I could, but I’ve got to get to work. 

You probably know that the words well and heck weren’t originally used as interjections in the English language. Well originally meant that something was done in a good or satisfactory way, or that a person was in good health. Over time and through repeated usage, it’s come to be used as a way to express emotion, such as surprise, anger, relief, or resignation, like in the example above. 

body-prepositional-phrases

This is a handy list of common prepositional phrases. (attanatta / Flickr) 

#8: Prepositions

The last part of speech we’re going to define is the preposition. Prepositions are words that are used to connect other words in a sentence—typically nouns and verbs—and show the relationship between those words. Prepositions convey concepts such as comparison, position, place, direction, movement, time, possession, and how an action is completed. 

Subclasses of Prepositions, Including Examples

The subclasses of prepositions are simple prepositions, double prepositions, participle prepositions, and prepositional phrases. 

Simple Prepositions

Simple prepositions appear before and between nouns, adjectives, or adverbs in sentences to convey relationships between people, living creatures, things, or places . Here are a couple of examples of simple prepositions used in sentences: 

I’ll order more ink before we run out. 

Your phone was beside your wallet. 

In the first example, the preposition before appears between the noun ink and the personal pronoun we to convey a relationship. In the second example, the preposition beside appears between the verb was and the possessive pronoun your.

In both examples, though, the prepositions help us understand how elements in the sentence are related to one another. In the first sentence, we know that the speaker currently has ink but needs more before it’s gone. In the second sentence, the preposition beside helps us understand how the wallet and the phone are positioned relative to one another! 

Double Prepositions

Double prepositions are exactly what they sound like: two prepositions joined together into one unit to connect phrases, nouns, and pronouns with other words in a sentence. Common examples of double prepositions include outside of, because of, according to, next to, across from, and on top of. Here is an example of a double preposition in a sentence: 

I thought you were sitting across from me. 

You see? Across and from both function as prepositions individually. When combined together in a sentence, they create a double preposition. (Also note that the prepositions help us understand how two people— you and I— are positioned with one another through spacial relationship.)  

Prepositional Phrases

Finally, prepositional phrases are groups of words that include a preposition and a noun or pronoun. Typically, the noun or pronoun that appears after the preposition in a prepositional phrase is called the object of the preposition. The object always appears at the end of the prepositional phrase. Additionally, prepositional phrases never include a verb or a subject. Here are two examples of prepositional phrases: 

The cat sat under the chair . 

In the example above, “under” is the preposition, and “the chair” is the noun, which functions as the object of the preposition. Here’s one more example: 

We walked through the overgrown field . 

Now, this example demonstrates one more thing you need to know about prepositional phrases: they can include an adjective before the object. In this example, “through” is the preposition, and “field” is the object. “Overgrown” is an adjective that modifies “the field,” and it’s quite common for adjectives to appear in prepositional phrases like the one above. 

While that might sound confusing, don’t worry: the key is identifying the preposition in the first place! Once you can find the preposition, you can start looking at the words around it to see if it forms a compound preposition, a double preposition of a prepositional phrase. 

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10 Question Quiz: Test Your Knowledge of Parts of Speech Definitions and Examples

Since we’ve covered a lot of material about the 8 parts of speech with examples ( a lot of them!), we want to give you an opportunity to review and see what you’ve learned! While it might seem easier to just use a parts of speech finder instead of learning all this stuff, our parts of speech quiz can help you continue building your knowledge of the 8 parts of speech and master each one. 

Are you ready? Here we go:  

1) What are the 8 parts of speech? 

a) Noun, article, adverb, antecedent, verb, adjective, conjunction, interjection b) Noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, determiner, clause, adjective, preposition c) Noun, verb, adjective, adverb, pronoun, conjunction, interjection, preposition

2) Which parts of speech have subclasses?

a) Nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs b) Nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, and prepositions c) All of them! There are many types of words within each part of speech.

3) What is the difference between common nouns and proper nouns?

a) Common nouns don’t refer to specific people, places, or entities, but proper nouns do refer to specific people, places, or entities.  b) Common nouns refer to regular, everyday people, places, or entities, but proper nouns refer to famous people, places, or entities.  c) Common nouns refer to physical entities, like people, places, and objects, but proper nouns refer to nonphysical entities, like feelings, ideas, and experiences.

4) In which of the following sentences is the emboldened word a verb?

a) He was frightened by the horror film .   b) He adjusted his expectations after the first plan fell through.  c) She walked briskly to get there on time.

5) Which of the following is a correct definition of adjectives, and what other part of speech do adjectives modify?

a) Adjectives are describing words, and they modify nouns and noun phrases.  b) Adjectives are describing words, and they modify verbs and adverbs.  c) Adjectives are describing words, and they modify nouns, verbs, and adverbs.

6) Which of the following describes the function of adverbs in sentences?

a) Adverbs express frequency, degree, manner, time, place, and level of certainty. b) Adverbs express an action performed by a subject.  c) Adverbs describe nouns and noun phrases.

7) Which of the following answers contains a list of personal pronouns?

a) This, that, these, those b) I, you, me, we, he, she, him, her, they, them c) Who, what, which, whose

8) Where do interjections typically appear in a sentence?

a) Interjections can appear at the beginning of or in between sentences. b) Interjections appear at the end of sentences.  c) Interjections appear in prepositional phrases.

9) Which of the following sentences contains a prepositional phrase?

a) The dog happily wagged his tail.  b) The cow jumped over the moon.  c) She glared, angry that he forgot the flowers.

10) Which of the following is an accurate definition of a “part of speech”?

a) A category of words that serve a similar grammatical purpose in sentences. b) A category of words that are of similar length and spelling.  c) A category of words that mean the same thing.

So, how did you do? If you got 1C, 2C, 3A, 4B, 5A, 6A, 7B, 8A, 9B, and 10A, you came out on top! There’s a lot to remember where the parts of speech are concerned, and if you’re looking for more practice like our quiz, try looking around for parts of speech games or parts of speech worksheets online!

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What’s Next? 

You might be brushing up on your grammar so you can ace the verbal portions of the SAT or ACT. Be sure you check out our guides to the grammar you need to know before you tackle those tests! Here’s our expert guide to the grammar rules you need to know for the SAT , and this article teaches you the 14 grammar rules you’ll definitely see on the ACT.

When you have a good handle on parts of speech, it can make writing essays tons easier. Learn how knowing parts of speech can help you get a perfect 12 on the ACT Essay (or an 8/8/8 on the SAT Essay ). 

While we’re on the topic of grammar: keep in mind that knowing grammar rules is only part of the battle when it comes to the verbal and written portions of the SAT and ACT. Having a good vocabulary is also important to making the perfect score ! Here are 262 vocabulary words you need to know before you tackle your standardized tests.  

Need more help with this topic? Check out Tutorbase!

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Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.

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The 8 Parts of Speech | Chart, Definition & Examples

The 8 Parts of Speech

A part of speech (also called a word class ) is a category that describes the role a word plays in a sentence. Understanding the different parts of speech can help you analyze how words function in a sentence and improve your writing.

The parts of speech are classified differently in different grammars, but most traditional grammars list eight parts of speech in English: nouns , pronouns , verbs , adjectives , adverbs , prepositions , conjunctions , and interjections . Some modern grammars add others, such as determiners and articles .

Many words can function as different parts of speech depending on how they are used. For example, “laugh” can be a noun (e.g., “I like your laugh”) or a verb (e.g., “don’t laugh”).

Table of contents

  • Prepositions
  • Conjunctions
  • Interjections

Other parts of speech

Interesting language articles, frequently asked questions.

A noun is a word that refers to a person, concept, place, or thing. Nouns can act as the subject of a sentence (i.e., the person or thing performing the action) or as the object of a verb (i.e., the person or thing affected by the action).

There are numerous types of nouns, including common nouns (used to refer to nonspecific people, concepts, places, or things), proper nouns (used to refer to specific people, concepts, places, or things), and collective nouns (used to refer to a group of people or things).

Ella lives in France .

Other types of nouns include countable and uncountable nouns , concrete nouns , abstract nouns , and gerunds .

A pronoun is a word used in place of a noun. Pronouns typically refer back to an antecedent (a previously mentioned noun) and must demonstrate correct pronoun-antecedent agreement . Like nouns, pronouns can refer to people, places, concepts, and things.

There are numerous types of pronouns, including personal pronouns (used in place of the proper name of a person), demonstrative pronouns (used to refer to specific things and indicate their relative position), and interrogative pronouns (used to introduce questions about things, people, and ownership).

That is a horrible painting!

A verb is a word that describes an action (e.g., “jump”), occurrence (e.g., “become”), or state of being (e.g., “exist”). Verbs indicate what the subject of a sentence is doing. Every complete sentence must contain at least one verb.

Verbs can change form depending on subject (e.g., first person singular), tense (e.g., simple past), mood (e.g., interrogative), and voice (e.g., passive voice ).

Regular verbs are verbs whose simple past and past participle are formed by adding“-ed” to the end of the word (or “-d” if the word already ends in “e”). Irregular verbs are verbs whose simple past and past participles are formed in some other way.

“I’ve already checked twice.”

“I heard that you used to sing .”

Other types of verbs include auxiliary verbs , linking verbs , modal verbs , and phrasal verbs .

An adjective is a word that describes a noun or pronoun. Adjectives can be attributive , appearing before a noun (e.g., “a red hat”), or predicative , appearing after a noun with the use of a linking verb like “to be” (e.g., “the hat is red ”).

Adjectives can also have a comparative function. Comparative adjectives compare two or more things. Superlative adjectives describe something as having the most or least of a specific characteristic.

Other types of adjectives include coordinate adjectives , participial adjectives , and denominal adjectives .

An adverb is a word that can modify a verb, adjective, adverb, or sentence. Adverbs are often formed by adding “-ly” to the end of an adjective (e.g., “slow” becomes “slowly”), although not all adverbs have this ending, and not all words with this ending are adverbs.

There are numerous types of adverbs, including adverbs of manner (used to describe how something occurs), adverbs of degree (used to indicate extent or degree), and adverbs of place (used to describe the location of an action or event).

Talia writes quite quickly.

Other types of adverbs include adverbs of frequency , adverbs of purpose , focusing adverbs , and adverbial phrases .

A preposition is a word (e.g., “at”) or phrase (e.g., “on top of”) used to show the relationship between the different parts of a sentence. Prepositions can be used to indicate aspects such as time , place , and direction .

I left the cup on the kitchen counter.

A conjunction is a word used to connect different parts of a sentence (e.g., words, phrases, or clauses).

The main types of conjunctions are coordinating conjunctions (used to connect items that are grammatically equal), subordinating conjunctions (used to introduce a dependent clause), and correlative conjunctions (used in pairs to join grammatically equal parts of a sentence).

You can choose what movie we watch because I chose the last time.

An interjection is a word or phrase used to express a feeling, give a command, or greet someone. Interjections are a grammatically independent part of speech, so they can often be excluded from a sentence without affecting the meaning.

Types of interjections include volitive interjections (used to make a demand or request), emotive interjections (used to express a feeling or reaction), cognitive interjections (used to indicate thoughts), and greetings and parting words (used at the beginning and end of a conversation).

Ouch ! I hurt my arm.

I’m, um , not sure.

The traditional classification of English words into eight parts of speech is by no means the only one or the objective truth. Grammarians have often divided them into more or fewer classes. Other commonly mentioned parts of speech include determiners and articles.

  • Determiners

A determiner is a word that describes a noun by indicating quantity, possession, or relative position.

Common types of determiners include demonstrative determiners (used to indicate the relative position of a noun), possessive determiners (used to describe ownership), and quantifiers (used to indicate the quantity of a noun).

My brother is selling his old car.

Other types of determiners include distributive determiners , determiners of difference , and numbers .

An article is a word that modifies a noun by indicating whether it is specific or general.

  • The definite article the is used to refer to a specific version of a noun. The can be used with all countable and uncountable nouns (e.g., “the door,” “the energy,” “the mountains”).
  • The indefinite articles a and an refer to general or unspecific nouns. The indefinite articles can only be used with singular countable nouns (e.g., “a poster,” “an engine”).

There’s a concert this weekend.

If you want to know more about nouns , pronouns , verbs , and other parts of speech, make sure to check out some of our language articles with explanations and examples.

Nouns & pronouns

  • Common nouns
  • Proper nouns
  • Collective nouns
  • Personal pronouns
  • Uncountable and countable nouns
  • Verb tenses
  • Phrasal verbs
  • Types of verbs
  • Active vs passive voice
  • Subject-verb agreement

A is an indefinite article (along with an ). While articles can be classed as their own part of speech, they’re also considered a type of determiner .

The indefinite articles are used to introduce nonspecific countable nouns (e.g., “a dog,” “an island”).

In is primarily classed as a preposition, but it can be classed as various other parts of speech, depending on how it is used:

  • Preposition (e.g., “ in the field”)
  • Noun (e.g., “I have an in with that company”)
  • Adjective (e.g., “Tim is part of the in crowd”)
  • Adverb (e.g., “Will you be in this evening?”)

As a part of speech, and is classed as a conjunction . Specifically, it’s a coordinating conjunction .

And can be used to connect grammatically equal parts of a sentence, such as two nouns (e.g., “a cup and plate”), or two adjectives (e.g., “strong and smart”). And can also be used to connect phrases and clauses.

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  • Class 8th /
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  • Class 11th /
  • Class 10th /
  • CBSE Guide /

Speech Writing

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  • Updated on  
  • Dec 1, 2023

Speech Writing

The power of good, inspiring, motivating, and thought-provoking speeches can never be overlooked. If we retrospect, a good speech has not only won people’s hearts but also has been a verbal tool to conquer nations. For centuries, many leaders have used this instrument to charm audiences with their powerful speeches. Apart from vocalizing your speech perfectly, the words you choose in a speech carry immense weight, and practising speech writing begins with our school life. Speech writing is an important part of the English syllabus for Class 12th, Class 11th, and Class 8th to 10th. This blog brings you the Speech Writing format, samples, examples, tips, and tricks!

Must Read: Story Writing Format for Class 9 & 10

This Blog Includes:

What is speech writing, speech in english language writing, how do you begin an english-language speech, introduction, how to write a speech, speech writing samples, example of a great speech, english speech topics, practice time.

Speech writing is the art of using proper grammar and expression to convey a thought or message to a reader. Speech writing isn’t all that distinct from other types of narrative writing. However, students should be aware of certain distinct punctuation and writing style techniques. While writing the ideal speech might be challenging, sticking to the appropriate speech writing structure will ensure that you never fall short.

“There are three things to aim at in public speaking: first, to get into your subject, then to get your subject into yourself, and lastly, to get your subject into the heart of your audience.”- Alexander Gregg

The English language includes eight parts of speech i.e. nouns , pronouns , verbs , adjectives 410 , adverbs , prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections.

  • Noun- A noun is a word that describes anything, such as an animal, a person, a place, or an emotion. Nouns are the building blocks for most sentences.
  • Pronoun – Pronouns are words that can be used in place of nouns. They are used so that we don’t have to repeat words. This makes our writing and speaking much more natural.
  • Verb – A verb is a term that implies activity or ‘doing.’ These are very vital for your children’s grammar studies, as a sentence cannot be complete without a verb.
  • Adjective – An adjective is a term that describes something. An adjective is frequently used before a noun to add extra information or description.
  • Prepositions- A preposition is a term that expresses the location or timing of something in relation to something else.
  • Conjunction- Because every language has its own set of conjunctions, English conjunctions differ from those found in other languages. They’re typically used as a connecting word between two statements, concepts, or ideas.
  • Interjections- Interjections are words that are used to describe a strong emotion or a sudden feeling.

Relevant Read: Speech on the Importance of English

The way you start your English speech can set the tone for the remainder of it. This semester, there are a variety of options for you to begin presentations in your classes. For example, try some of these engaging speech in English language starters.

  • Rhetorical questions : A rhetorical question is a figure of speech that uses a question to convey a point rather than asking for a response. The answer to a rhetorical question may be clear, yet the questioner asks it to emphasize the point. Rhetorical questions may be a good method for students to start their English speeches. This method of introducing your material might be appealing to the viewers and encourage them to consider how they personally relate to your issue.
  • Statistics: When making an instructive or persuasive speech in an English class, statistics can help to strengthen the speaker’s authority and understanding of the subject. To get your point over quickly and create an emotional response, try using an unexpected statistic or fact that will resonate with the audience.
  • Set up an imaginary scene: Create an imaginary situation in your audience’s thoughts if you want to persuade them to agree with you with your speech. This method of starting your speech assists each member of the audience in visualizing a fantastic scenario that you wish to see come true.

Relevant Read: Reported Speech Rules With Exercises

Format of Speech Writing

Here is the format of Speech Writing:

  • Introduction : Greet the audience, tell them about yourself and further introduce the topic.
  • Body : Present the topic in an elaborate way, explaining its key features, pros and cons, if any and the like.
  • Conclusion : Summary of your speech, wrap up the topic and leave your audience with a compelling reminder to think about!

Let’s further understand each element of the format of Speech Writing in further detail:

After the greetings, the Introduction has to be attention-getting. Quickly get people’s attention. The goal of a speech is to engage the audience and persuade them to think or act in your favour. The introduction must effectively include: 

  • A brief preview of your topic. 
  • Define the outlines of your speech. (For example, I’ll be talking about…First..Second…Third)
  • Begin with a story, quote, fact, joke, or observation in the room. It shouldn’t be longer than 3-4 lines. (For Example: “Mahatma Gandhi said once…”, or “This topic reminds me of an incident/story…”)

This part is also important because that’s when your audience decides if the speech is worth their time. Keep your introduction factual, interesting, and convincing.

It is the most important part of any speech. You should provide a number of reasons and arguments to convince the audience to agree with you.

Handling objections is an important aspect of speech composition. There is no time for questions or concerns since a speech is a monologue. Any concerns that may occur during the speech will be addressed by a powerful speech. As a result, you’ll be able to respond to questions as they come in from the crowd. To make speech simpler you can prepare a flow chart of the details in a systematic way.

For example: If your speech is about waste management; distribute information and arrange it according to subparagraphs for your reference. It could include:

  • What is Waste Management?
  • Major techniques used to manage waste
  • Advantages of Waste Management  
  • Importance of Waste Management 

The conclusion should be something that the audience takes with them. It could be a reminder, a collective call to action, a summary of your speech, or a story. For example: “It is upon us to choose the fate of our home, the earth by choosing to begin waste management at our personal spaces.”

After concluding, add a few lines of gratitude to the audience for their time.

For example: “Thank you for being a wonderful audience and lending me your time. Hope this speech gave you something to take away.”

speech writing format

Practice Your Speech Writing with these English Speech topics for students !

A good speech is well-timed, informative, and thought-provoking. Here are the tips for writing a good school speech:

Speech Sandwich of Public Speaking

The introduction and conclusion must be crisp. People psychologically follow the primacy effect (tendency to remember the first part of the list/speech) and recency effect (tendency to recall the last part of the list/speech). 

Use Concrete Facts

Make sure you thoroughly research your topic. Including facts appeals to the audience and makes your speech stronger. How much waste is managed? Give names of organisations and provide numerical data in one line.

Use Rhetorical Strategies and Humour

Include one or two open-ended or thought-provoking questions.  For Example: “Would we want our future generation to face trouble due to global warming?” Also, make good use of humour and convenient jokes that engages your audience and keeps them listening.

Check Out: Message Writing

Know your Audience and Plan Accordingly

This is essential before writing your speech. To whom is it directed? The categorised audience on the basis of –

  • Knowledge of the Topic (familiar or unfamiliar)

Use the information to formulate the speech accordingly, use information that they will understand, and a sentence that they can retain.

Timing Yourself is Important

An important aspect of your speech is to time yourself.  Don’t write a speech that exceeds your word limit. Here’s how can decide the right timing for your speech writing:

  • A one-minute speech roughly requires around 130-150 words
  • A two-minute speech requires roughly around 250-300 words

Recommended Read: Letter Writing

Speech Writing Examples

Here are some examples to help you understand how to write a good speech. Read these to prepare for your next speech:

Write a speech to be delivered in the school assembly as Rahul/ Rubaina of Delhi Public School emphasises the importance of cleanliness, implying that the level of cleanliness represents the character of its residents. (150-200 words)

“Cleanliness is next to godliness,” said the great John Wesley. Hello, respected principal, instructors, and good friends. Today, I, Rahul/Rubaina, stand in front of you all to emphasise the significance of cleanliness.

Cleanliness is the condition or attribute of being or remaining clean. Everyone must learn about cleaning, hygiene, sanitation, and the different diseases that are produced by unsanitary circumstances. It is essential for physical well-being and the maintenance of a healthy atmosphere at home and at school. A filthy atmosphere invites a large number of mosquitos to grow and spread dangerous diseases. On the other side, poor personal cleanliness causes a variety of skin disorders as well as lowered immunity.

Habits formed at a young age become ingrained in one’s personality. Even if we teach our children to wash their hands before and after meals, brush their teeth and bathe on a regular basis, we are unconcerned about keeping public places clean. On October 2, 2014, the Indian Prime Minister began the “Swachh Bharat” programme to offer sanitation amenities to every family, including toilets, solid and liquid waste disposal systems, village cleanliness, and safe and appropriate drinking water supplies. Teachers and children in schools are actively participating in the ‘Clean India Campaign’ with zeal and excitement.

Good health ensures a healthy mind, which leads to better overall productivity, higher living standards, and economic development. It will improve India’s international standing. As a result, a clean environment is a green environment with fewer illnesses. Thus, cleanliness is defined as a symbol of mental purity.

Thank you very much.

Relevant Read: Speech on Corruption

You are Sahil/Sanya, the school’s Head Girl/Head Boy. You are greatly troubled by the increasing instances of aggressive behaviour among your students. You decide to speak about it during the morning assembly. Create a speech about “School Discipline.” (150 – 200 words)

INDISCIPLINE IN SCHOOLS,

It has been reported that the frequency of fights and incidences of bullying in our school has increased dramatically in the previous several months. Good morning to everyone present. Today, I, Sahil/Sanya, your head boy/girl, am here to shed light on the serious topic of “Increased Indiscipline in Schools.”

It has come to light that instructor disobedience, bullying, confrontations with students, truancy, and insults are becoming more widespread. Furthermore, there have been reports of parents noticing a shift in their children’s attitudes. As a result, many children are suffering emotionally, psychologically, and physically. The impact of this mindset on children at a young age is devastating and irreversible.

Not to mention the harm done to the school’s property. Theft of chalk, scribbling on desks, walls and lavatory doors, destruction of CCTV cameras and so forth. We are merely depriving ourselves of the comforts granted to us by doing so.

Following numerous meetings, it was determined that the main reasons for the problem were a lack of sufficient guidance, excessive use of social media, and peer pressure. The council is working to make things better. Everyone is required to take life skills classes. Counselling, motivating, and instilling friendly ideals will be part of the curriculum. Seminars for parents and students will be held on a regular basis.

A counsellor is being made available to help you all discuss your sentiments, grudges, and personal problems. We are doing everything we can and expect you to do the same.

So, let us work together to create an environment in which we encourage, motivate, assist, and be nice to one another because we are good and civilised humans capable of a great deal of love.

Relevant Read: How to Write a Speech on Discipline?

The current increase in incidences of violent student misbehaviour is cause for alarm for everyone. Students who learn how to manage their anger can help to alleviate the situation. Write a 150-200-word speech about the topic to be delivered at the school’s morning assembly. (10)

HOW TO CONTROL ANGER

Honourable Principal, Respected Teachers, and Dear Friends, I’d like to share a few “Ways to Manage Anger” with you today.

The growing intolerance among the younger generation, which is resulting in violence against teachers, is cause for severe concern. The guru-shishya parampara is losing its lustre. Aggressive behaviour in students can be provoked by a variety of factors, including self-defence, stressful circumstance, over-stimulation, or a lack of adult supervision.

It has become imperative to address the situation. Life skills workshops will be included in the curriculum. Teachers should be trained to deal with such stubborn and confrontational behaviours. Meditation and deep breathing are very beneficial and should be practised every morning. Students should be taught to count to ten before reacting angrily. Sessions on anger control and its importance must also be held.

Remember that Anger is one letter away from danger. It becomes much more crucial to be able to control one’s rage. It’s never too late to start, as a wise man once said.

“Every minute you stay angry, you lose sixty seconds of peace of mind.”

Relevant Read: English Speech Topics for Students

Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I Have A Dream’ is one of his most famous speeches. Its impact has lasted through generations. The speech is written by utilising the techniques above. Here are some examples:

“still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination” – emotive Language

“In a sense, we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check” – personalising the speech

“to stand up for freedom together” – a call to action.

Importantly, this is an example of how the listener comes first while drafting a speech. The language chosen appeals to a specific sort of audience and was widely utilised in 1963 when the speech was delivered.

  • The Best Day of My Life
  • Social Media : Bane or Boon?
  • Pros and Cons of Online Learning
  • Benefits of Yoga
  • If I had a Superpower
  • I wish I were ______
  • Environment Conservation
  • Women Should Rule the World!
  • The Best Lesson I Have Learned
  • Paperbacks vs E-books
  • How to Tackle a Bad Habit
  • My Favorite Pastime/Hobby
  • Why should every citizen vote?
  • Fear of Missing Out (FOMO): Is it real or not?
  • Importance of Reading
  • Importance of Books in Our Life
  • My Favorite Fictional Character
  • Introverts vs Extroverts
  • Lessons to Learn from Sports
  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Also Read: How to Ace IELTS Writing Section?

Ans. Speech writing is the process of communicating a notion or message to a reader by employing proper punctuation and expression. Speech writing is similar to other types of narrative writing. However, students should be aware of some different punctuation and writing structure techniques.

Ans. Before beginning with the speech, choose an important topic. Create an outline; rehearse your speech, and adjust the outline based on comments from the rehearsal. This five-step strategy for speech planning serves as the foundation for both lessons and learning activities.

Ans. Writing down a speech is vital since it helps you better comprehend the issue, organises your thoughts, prevents errors in your speech, allows you to get more comfortable with it, and improves its overall quality.

Speech writing and public speaking are effective and influential. Hope this blog helped you know the various tips for writing the speech people would want to hear. If you need help in making the right career choices at any phase of your academic and professional journey, our Leverage Edu experts are here to guide you. Sign up for a free session now!

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speech pattern definition simple

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  • English Grammar : Learn Rules of Grammar and Basics
  • Parts of Speech: Definitions, Examples & 8 Types
  • What is a Noun? Types, Definitions and Examples (List)
  • Proper Noun - Definition, Examples, & Rules
  • Common Noun - Definition, Examples, List & Usage
  • Plural Noun - Rules and Examples
  • Possessive Noun - Meaning, Usage, Rules and Examples
  • What is Collective Noun? List of Examples, Uses and Exercises
  • Abstract Nouns - Definition, Examples, List, Usage
  • What is a Compound Noun? Definition, Types & Examples
  • What are Countable Noun?
  • What are Uncountable Noun - How to use them?
  • Material Noun: Definition, Examples, Rules & Exercises
  • Pronoun Definition - Rules and Types of Pronouns
  • Reflexive Pronoun
  • Subject Pronouns - Definition, Example and Exercise
  • Relative Pronouns - Definition, Uses and Examples
  • Demonstrative Pronouns : Definition and Examples
  • Possessive Pronouns: Definition, Usage and Examples
  • Indefinite Pronoun
  • Personal Pronoun: Definition, Rules and Examples
  • Interrogative Pronoun
  • Reciprocal Pronoun
  • What is a Verb? Types, Uses, Examples
  • Main Verbs - Meaning, Types and Examples
  • Helping Verb: Definition, Types and Examples
  • Auxiliary Verbs: Definition, Examples & List
  • Irregular Verbs
  • What Are Modal Verbs? – Definition, Usage & Examples
  • What is A Gerund? Definition and Examples
  • Adjective - Definition, List, Types, Uses and Examples
  • Proper Adjectives Definition and Examples
  • Possessive Adjectives - Definition, Example and List
  • Interrogative Adjective - Meaning, Definition and Examples
  • What Is an Adverb? Definition, List & Examples
  • Conjunctive Adverbs - Meaning, Examples and Exercises
  • Adverbs of Time - Examples, Meaning, and Definition
  • Adverbs of Frequency - Definition, Examples, and Usage
  • Adverbs of Place - Definition, List and Examples
  • What are Adverbs of Degree? Definition, List and Examples
  • Adverbs of Manner - Meaning, Definition and Examples

Conjunction

  • What is a Conjunction - Meaning, Definition, Types, Rules and Examples
  • Subordinating Conjunction - Meaning, Definition, Types and Examples

Preposition

Interjection.

  • Interjections - Definition, Types, Rules and Examples
  • Definite and Indefinite Articles ( A, An, The)
  • Subject-Verb Agreement Rules - Subject-Verb Agreement
  • Active and Passive Voice Rules for Competitive Exams
  • What is Tense? Types, Definitions & Examples
  • Tense Chart in English - Rules, Examples, Types & Mind map

Parts of Speech: Definitions, Examples & 8 Types

Every word is a part of speech playing a specific role in sentences or paragraphs. Parts of speech provide an organized way to align words and phrases, it is a fundamental meaning for a language to become more understandable and serve a specific purpose. Here, in this article, we will see what is Part of Speech, its types, and its uses. So let us dive in deeper to learn more about it!

Parts of Speech

Table of Content

What is Part of Speech?

Parts of speech chart.

  • Different Types of Parts of Speech :
  • Parts of Speech Examples Using Sentences
  • Quiz to practice Parts of Speech 

Parts of Speech – FAQs

The English language has thousands of words and every word has some function to perform. Some words are there to show action, some to join, and some to name something. There are 8 different parts of speech including nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, prepositions, conjunction, and interjection. And together, all the functions performed by words in the English language fall under Parts of speech.           

Parts of Speech Definition

The parts of speech are the “traditional grammatical categories to which words are assigned in accordance with their syntactic functions, such as noun, verb, adjective, adverb, and so on.” In other words, they refer to the different roles that words can play in a sentence and how they relate to one another based on grammar and syntax.

All Parts of Speech with Examples 

There are 8 different types of parts of speech i.e., Nouns, Pronouns, Adjectives, Verbs, Adverb, prepositions, Conjunction, and Interjection.

Noun –

A   noun   is a word that names a person, place, thing, state, or quality. It can be singular or plural. Nouns are a part of speech.

  • Function: Refers to Things or person
  • Examples: Pen, Chair, Ram, Honesty
  • Sentences: Cars are expensive, This chair is made of wood, and Ram is a topper, Honesty is the best policy.

Pronoun –

The word used in place of a noun or a noun phrase is known as a pronoun. A pronoun is used in place of a noun to avoid the repetition of the noun. 

  • Function: Replaces a noun
  • Examples: I, you, he, she, it, they
  • Sentences: They are expensive, It is of wood, He is a topper, It is the best policy

Adjective –

A word that modifies a noun or a pronoun is an adjective. Generally, an adjective’s function is to further define and quantify a noun or pronoun.

  • Function: Describes a noun
  • Examples: Super, Red, Our, Big, Great, class
  • Sentences: Supercars are expensive, The red chair is for kids, Ram is a class topper, and Great things take time.

Verb –

A word or a group of words that describes an action, a state, or an event is called a verb. A verb is a word that says what happens to somebody or what somebody or something does.

  • Function: Describes action or state
  • Sentences: I play football, I will be a doctor, I like to work, I love writing poems.

Adverb –

A verb, adjective, another adverb, determiner, clause, preposition, or sentence is typically modified by an adverb . Adverbs often answer questions like “how,” “in what way,” “when,” “where,” and “to what extent” by expressing things like method, place, time, frequency, degree, level of certainty, etc

  • Function: Describes a verb, adjective, or adverb
  • Examples: Silently, too, very
  • Sentences: I love reading silently, It is too tough to handle, He can speak very fast.

Preposition –

A preposition is called  a connector or linking word which has a very close relationship with the noun, pronoun or adjective that follows it . Prepositions show position in space, movement, direction, etc.

  • Function: Links a noun to another word
  • Examples: at, in, of, after, under,
  • Sentences: The ball is under the table, I am at a restaurant, she is in trouble, I am going after her, It is so nice of him

Conjunction –

A  conjunction  is a word that connects clauses, sentences, or other words.  Conjunctions  can be used alone or in groups of two.

  • Function: Joins clauses and sentences
  • Examples: and, but, though, after
  • Sentences: First, I will go to college and then I may go to Fest, I don’t have a car but I know how to drive, She failed the exam though she worked hard, He will come after he finishes his match. 

Interjection –

An  interjection  is a word or phrase expressing some sudden feelings of sadness or emotions. 

  • Function: Shows exclamation
  • Examples: oh! wow!, alas! Hurray!
  • Sentences: Oh! I got fail again, Wow! I got the job, Alas! She is no more, Hurray! We are going to a party.

These are the main parts of speech, but there are additional subcategories and variations within each. Understanding the different parts of speech can help construct grammatically correct sentences and express ideas clearly.

Sentence Examples for the 8 Parts of Speech

  • Examples: Luggage, Cattle.
  • Sentence:  Never leave your luggage unattended.
  • In some places, cattle are fed barely.
  • Examples: who, either, themselves
  • Sentence: I know a man who plays the guitar very well.
  • Either of the two cars is for sale.
  • They enjoyed themselves at the party.
  • Examples: kind, moving, wounder.
  • Sentence: 
  • She is a kind person.
  • Boarding a moving bus can be dangerous.
  • Never poke a wounded animal.
  • Examples: Praise, Hate, Punish
  • Sentence: She always praises her friends.
  • I don’t hate anybody.
  • The boy has been punished by his teacher
  • Examples: Always, enough, immediately
  • Sentence: we should always help each other.
  • We should be wise enough to understand what is good for us.
  • We should leave bad habits immediately.
  • Examples: Off, Below, From. to
  • He plunged off the cliff
  • I live below the 9th floor.
  • I travel daily from Delhi to Noida.
  • Examples: whereas, as well as, so, 
  • Sentence: The new software is fairly simple whereas the old one was a bit complicated.
  • The finance company is not performing well as well as some of its competitors.
  • He was ready so he may come. 
  • Examples: oops! whoa! phew! 
  • Sentence: Oops! I forgot to mention her name.
  • Whoa! you drive fast. 
  • Phew! That was a close call, we had a narrow escape.

Parts of Speech Exercise – Test your Knowledge of Part of speech 

Choose the correct Parts of Speech of the BOLD word from the following questions.

1. Let us play, Shall We?

       a. Conjunction        b. Pronoun        c. Verb

2.  I t is a good practice to arrange books on shelves.

      a. Verb       b. Noun       c. Adjective

3. Whose books are these?

      a. Pronoun      b. Preposition      c. verb

4.   Father, please get me that toy. 

     a. Pronoun      b. Adverb      c. Adjective

5.  His mentality is rather obnoxious.

     a. Adverb      b. Adjective      c. Noun

6.  He is the guy whose money got stolen.

      a. Pronoun       b. Conjunction       c. Adjective

7. I will have finished my semester by the end of this year.

      a. Interjection       b. Conjunction       c. Preposition

8. Bingo! That’s the one I have been looking for

    a. Interjection      b. Conjunctio      c. Preposition

Quiz Answers:

1. c,  2. b,  3. a,  4. c,  5. a,  6. b,  7. c,  8. a

Also Check:

  • English Grammar
  • Figures of Speech
  • Learn English Grammar Online
  • Difference Between Adjective and Verb

Q1. What are Parts of Speech?

A word is assigned to a category as per its function, and those categories are together known as Parts of Speech.

Q2. What are the 8 Parts of Speech?

Noun, Pronoun, Adjective, Verb, Adverb, Preposition, Conjunction, Interjection.

Q3. How many Parts of Speech are there?

There are a total of 8 parts of Speech.

Q4. What Part of Speech is “our”?

“Our” is a adjective type of Part of Speech. Eg. Our car.

Q5. What Part of Speech is “Quickly”?

Adverb. let us understand it with this example – Milk sours quickly in warm weather.

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Nikki Haley backpedals amid criticism after omitting 'slavery' from Civil War causes

BERLIN, N.H. — Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley declined Wednesday to say slavery was a cause of the Civil War, arguing instead that it came down to “the role of government.”

At a New Hampshire town hall, a voter bluntly asked Haley, “What was the cause of the Civil War?”

Haley, the  former South Carolina governor  and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who is aiming to present herself as the top Republican alternative to former President  Donald Trump , gave a lengthy answer but did not mention slavery — the primary cause of the war.

“I think the cause of the Civil War was basically how government was going to run — the freedoms and what people could and couldn’t do,” she said at the beginning of her response.

On Thursday, she appeared to backpedal, saying in a radio interview on “Good Morning New Hampshire” that “of course, the Civil War was about slavery” and that her comments reflect what it “means to us today.”

“What it means to us today is about freedom — that’s what that was all about. It was about individual freedom,” she said. “It was about economic freedom. It was about individual rights.”

Haley then suggested without evidence that the voter who asked the question was a “plant” sent by Democrats, arguing that allies of President Joe Biden are trying to influence the primary to ensure he faces former President Donald Trump in the general election.

“Biden and the Democrats keep sending Democrat plants to do things like this to get the media to react,” she said. “We know when they’re there; we know what they’re doing. Why is Biden doing that? Why isn’t he doing it to any other candidate? It’s because he knows I defeat him by double digits.

“It’s also because they know they want to run against Trump,” she added. “They’re trying to help Trump — they’ve tried to help Trump this whole time.”

Asked whether she thought the voter was a “Democrat plant” or just a typical New Hampshire voter when she was asked the question about the Civil War, Haley replied, “No, it was definitely a Democrat plant.

“That’s why I said, ‘What does it mean to you?’ And if you notice, he didn’t answer anything. The same reason he didn’t tell the reporters what his name was,” she said.

“We see these guys when they come in, we know what they’re doing, and we know from the second they asked the question, if you look at the last one, I did New Hampshire, there was one at every single town hall,” she added. “This is what they do, and I’m trying to turn the questions back on them. In this case, this is, you know, this is what happened, but yeah, this is what they’re doing. And so if you notice, he didn’t mention anything about slavery, he didn’t talk about it, because that wasn’t the intent. That was never his intent.”

New Hampshire allows unaffiliated voters to vote in the Republican primary, a population that has been seen as a potential boost to candidates like Haley or former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Haley doubled down on her defense at a town hall Thursday morning.

“Of course, the Civil War was about slavery. We know that that’s unquestioned, always the case,” she said. “We know the Civil War was about slavery, but it was also more than that. It was about the freedoms of every individual. It was about the role of government for 80 years.”

Haley had given a lengthy answer at the Wednesday town hall that set off the controversy.

“I think it always comes down to the role of government and what the rights of the people are. And I will always stand by the fact that I think government was intended to secure the rights and freedoms of the people. It was never meant to be all things to all people.

“Government doesn’t need to tell you how to live your life. They don’t need to tell you what you can and can’t do. They don’t need to be a part of your life. They need to make sure that you have freedom,” she said. “We need to have capitalism. We need to have economic freedom. We need to make sure that we do all things so that individuals have the liberties so that they can have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to do or be anything they want to be without government getting in the way.”

After the voter responded by saying he found it “astonishing” that Haley had not used the word “slavery” at any point in her answer, she asked, “What do you want me to say about slavery?”

Haley then moved on to the next question.

The exchange drew a swift response from Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison. “This isn’t hard: condemning slavery is the baseline for anyone who wants to be president of the United States,” he said in a statement.

Biden also responded on X, saying, "It was about slavery."

Haley’s campaign responded by citing remarks she made addressing the issue in a New Hampshire interview Thursday morning.

“Yes, we know the Civil War was about slavery,” Haley said in the interview. “But more than that, what’s the lesson in all this? That freedom matters. And individual rights and liberties matter for all people. That’s the blessing of America. That was a stain on America when we had slavery. But what we want is never relive it. Never let anyone take those freedoms away again.”

Some New Hampshire voters expressed dissatisfaction with Haley’s comments about the Civil War when they were asked for their reaction Thursday morning.

Hella Ross, an undeclared voter who is leaning toward voting for Haley, said she gave a “total softball” response to the question.

“It’s astounding to me that she got tripped up. However, it proves, once again, that she’s concerned about alienating the MAGA crowd/base. Shameful, but she can’t have it both ways,” Ross said.

After Haley tried to walk back her comments Thursday morning, Ross said: “Damage control is always challenging.”

Thalia Floras, another undeclared voter from New Hampshire, was prepared to commit her vote to Haley, but she was shocked by her comments.

“I am not satisfied with her follow-up on it,” Floras said. “I think she is tiptoeing around the subject. When you are the president of the United States, you can’t tiptoe around the Civil War. It’s not a gray area. I’m horrified she’s whitewashing this.”

Marie Mulory, an independent voter who has attended dozens of town halls and is leaning toward voting for Haley, said: “It may have just been an attempt to give one of her normal answers where she tries to be all things to all people and this just backfired horrendously.”

The response to Haley’s comments follows similar criticism that a GOP rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, faced over his remarks about state standards that teach about the “personal benefit” Black people derived from slavery.

DeSantis was asked in July about the Florida Board of Education’s wording in its guidance for teaching about slavery and said, “I didn’t do it, and I wasn’t involved in it.” He went on to say, “I think what they’re doing is, I think that they’re probably going to show some of the folks that eventually parlayed, you know, being a blacksmith into, into doing things later in life,” referring to enslaved people.

In response to Haley's comments about the cause of the Civil War, DeSantis called it a "really incomprehensible word salad" and said she "tends to cave" when she faces scrutiny from the media.

"Yesterday, not that difficult to identify and acknowledge the role slavery played in the Civil War, and yet that seemed to be something that was really difficult, and I don’t even know what she was saying," he said. "If you, if you listen to that answer, I know she’s trying to clean it up."

DeSantis pointed to Haley's suggestion that Democrats were behind the voter’s asking her about the cause of the Civil War.

"I know she’s trying to blame a Democrat plant. Look, I mean, you’re going to get asked a lot of questions. I mean, you’re going to get asked a lot of tough questions — that’s just the nature of this business," he said. "And I think that she’s shown time and time again that when it’s time, when the lights get hot, that she wilts under pressure, and that was a good example last night."

Haley was governor when South Carolina removed the Confederate flag from its Capitol following the 2015 shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. She has previously talked about how the shooting was the most difficult time for her emotionally as governor.

speech pattern definition simple

Greg Hyatt is a 2024 NBC News campaign embed.

speech pattern definition simple

Summer Concepcion is a politics reporter for NBC News.

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Chapter Nine – Organizing the Body of your Speech

Creating the Body of a Speech

In a series of important and ground-breaking studies conducted during the 1950s and 1960s, researchers started investigating how a speech’s organization was related to audience perceptions of those speeches. The first study, conducted by Raymond Smith in 1951, randomly organized the parts of a speech to see how audiences would react. Not surprisingly, when speeches were randomly organized, the audience perceived the speech more negatively than when audiences were presented with a speech with clear, intentional organization. Smith also found that audiences who listened to unorganized speeches were less interested in those speeches than audiences who listened to organized speeches (Smith, 1951). Thompson furthered this investigation and found that unorganized speeches were also harder for audiences to recall after the speech. Basically, people remember information from speeches that are clearly organized—and forget information from speeches that are poorly organized (Thompson, 1960). A third study by Baker found that when audiences were presented with a disorganized speaker, they were less likely to be persuaded, and saw the disorganized speaker as lacking credibility (Baker, 1965).

These three very important studies make the importance of organization very clear. When speakers are not organized they are not perceived as credible and their audiences view the speeches negatively, are less likely to be persuaded, and don’t remember specific information from the speeches after the fact.

We start this chapter discussing these studies because we want you to understand the importance of speech organization on real audiences. If you are not organized, your speech will never have its intended effect. In this chapter, we are going to discuss the basics of organizing the body of your speech.

Determining Your Main Ideas

A man with a lightbulb above his head

Matt Wynn –  Lightbulb!  – CC BY 2.0.

When creating a speech, it’s important to remember that speeches have three clear parts: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. The introduction establishes the topic and whets your audience’s appetite, and the conclusion wraps everything up at the end of your speech. The real “meat” of your speech happens in the body. In this section, we’re going to discuss how to think strategically about the body of your speech.

We like the word  strategic  because it refers to determining what is important or essential to the overall plan or purpose of your speech. Too often, new speakers just throw information together and stand up and start speaking. When that happens, audience members are left confused and the reason for the speech may get lost. To avoid being seen as disorganized, we want you to start thinking critically about the organization of your speech. In this section, we will discuss how to take your speech from a specific purpose to creating the main points of your speech.

What Is Your Specific Purpose?

Before we discuss how to determine the main points of your speech, we want to revisit your speech’s specific purpose. Recall that a speech can have one of three general purposes: to inform, to persuade, or to entertain. The general purpose refers to the broad goal for creating and delivering the speech. The specific purpose, on the other hand, starts with one of those broad goals (inform, persuade, or entertain) and then further informs the listener about the  who ,  what ,  when ,  where ,  why , and  how  of the speech.

The specific purpose is stated as a sentence incorporating the general purpose, the specific audience for the speech, and a prepositional phrase that summarizes the topic. Suppose you are going to give a speech about using open-source software. Here are three examples (each with a different general purpose and a different audience):

In each of these three examples, you’ll notice that the general topic is the same—open-source software—but the specific purpose is different because the speech has a different general purpose and a different audience. Before you can think strategically about organizing the body of your speech, you need to know what your specific purpose is. If you have not yet written a specific purpose for your current speech, please go ahead and write one now.

From Specific Purpose to Main Points

Once you’ve written down your specific purpose, you can now start thinking about the best way to turn that specific purpose into a series of main points. Main points are the key ideas you present to enable your speech to accomplish its specific purpose. In this section, we’re going to discuss how to determine your main points and how to organize those main points into a coherent, strategic speech.

Narrowing Down Your Main Points

When you write your specific purpose and review the research you have done on your topic, you will probably find yourself thinking of quite a few points that you’d like to make in your speech. Whether that’s the case or not, we recommend taking a few minutes to brainstorm and develop a list of points. What information does your audience need to know to understand your topic? What information does your speech need to convey to accomplish its specific purpose? Consider the following example:

Now that you have brainstormed and developed a list of possible points, how do you go about narrowing them down to just two or three main ones? Remember, your main points are the key ideas that help build your speech. When you look over the preceding list, you can then start to see that many of the points are related to one another. Your goal in narrowing down your main points is to identify which individual, potentially minor points can be combined to make main points. This process is called chunking because it involves taking smaller chunks of information and putting them together with like chunks to create more fully developed chunks of information. Before reading our chunking of the preceding list, see if you can determine three large chunks out of the list (note that not all chunks are equal).

While there is no magic number for how many main points a speech should have, speech experts generally agree that the fewer the number of main points the better. First and foremost, experts on the subject of memory have consistently shown that people don’t tend to remember very much after they listen to a message or leave a conversation (Bostrom & Waldhart, 1988). While many different factors can affect a listener’s ability to retain information after a speech, how the speech is organized is an important part of that process (Dunham, 1964; Smith, 1951; Thompson, 1960). For the speeches you will be delivering in a typical public speaking class, you will usually have just two or three main points. If your speech is less than three minutes long, then two main points will probably work best. If your speech is between three and ten minutes in length, then it makes more sense to use three main points.

You may be wondering why we are recommending only two or three main points. The reason comes straight out of the research on listening. According to LeFrancois, people are more likely to remember information that is meaningful, useful, and of interest to them; different or unique; organized; visual; and simple (LeFrancois, 1999). Two or three main points are much easier for listeners to remember than ten or even five. In addition, if you have two or three main points, you’ll be able to develop each one with examples, statistics, or other forms of support. Including support for each point will make your speech more interesting and more memorable for your audience.

You may notice that in the preceding list, the number of subpoints under each of the three main points is a little disjointed or the topics don’t go together clearly. That’s all right. Remember that these are just general ideas at this point. It’s also important to remember that there is often more than one way to organize a speech. Some of these points could be left out and others developed more fully, depending on the purpose and audience. We’ll develop the preceding main points more fully in a moment.

speech pattern definition simple

Helpful Hints for Preparing Your Main Points

Now that we’ve discussed how to take a specific purpose and turn it into a series of main points, here are some helpful hints for creating your main points.

Uniting Your Main Points

Once you’ve generated a possible list of main points, you want to ask yourself this question: “When you look at your main points, do they fit together?” For example, if you look at the three preceding main points (school districts use software in their operations; what is open-source software; name some specific open-source software packages that may be appropriate for these school administrators to consider), ask yourself, “Do these main points help my audience understand my specific purpose?”

Suppose you added a fourth main point about open-source software for musicians—would this fourth main point go with the other three? Probably not. While you may have a strong passion for open-source music software, that main point is extraneous information for the speech you are giving. It does not help accomplish your specific purpose, so you’d need to toss it out.

Keeping Your Main Points Separate

The next question to ask yourself about your main points is whether they overlap too much. While some overlap may happen naturally because of the singular nature of a specific topic, the information covered within each main point should be clearly distinct from the other main points. Imagine you’re giving a speech with the specific purpose “to inform my audience about the health reasons for eating apples and oranges.” You could then have three main points: that eating fruits is healthy, that eating apples is healthy, and that eating oranges is healthy. While the two points related to apples and oranges are clearly distinct, both of those main points would probably overlap too much with the first point “that eating fruits is healthy,” so you would probably decide to eliminate the first point and focus on the second and third. On the other hand, you could keep the first point and then develop two new points giving additional support to why people should eat fruit.

Balancing Main Points

One of the biggest mistakes some speakers make is to spend most of their time talking about one of their main points, completely neglecting their other main points. To avoid this mistake, organize your speech so as to spend roughly the same amount of time on each main point. If you find that one of your main points is simply too large, you may need to divide that main point into two main points and consolidate your other main points into a single main point.

Let’s see if our preceding example is balanced (school districts use software in their operations; what is open-source software; name some specific open-source software packages that may be appropriate for these school administrators to consider). What do you think? Obviously, the answer depends on how much time a speaker will have to talk about each of these main points. If you have an hour to talk, then you may find that these three main points are balanced. However, you may also find them wildly unbalanced if you only have five minutes to speak because five minutes is not enough time to even explain what open-source software is. If that’s the case, then you probably need to rethink your specific purpose to ensure that you can cover the material in the allotted time.

speech pattern definition simple

Creating Parallel Structure for Main Points

Another major question to ask yourself about your main points is whether or not they have a parallel structure. By parallel structure, we mean that you should structure your main points so that they all sound similar. When all your main points sound similar, it’s simply easier for your audiences to remember your main points and retain them for later. Let’s look at our sample (school districts use software in their operations; what is open-source software; name some specific open-source software packages that may be appropriate for these school administrators to consider). Notice that the first and third main points are statements, but the second one is a question. Basically, we have an example here of main points that are not parallel in structure. You could fix this in one of two ways. You could make them all questions: what are some common school district software programs; what is open-source software; and what are some specific open-source software packages that may be appropriate for these school administrators to consider. Or you could turn them all into statements: school districts use software in their operations; define and describe open-source software; name some specific open-source software packages that may be appropriate for these school administrators to consider. Either of these changes will make the grammatical structure of the main points parallel.

Maintaining Logical Flow of Main Points

The last question you want to ask yourself about your main points is whether the main points make sense in the order you’ve placed them. The next section goes into more detail of common organizational patterns for speeches, but for now we want you to just think logically about the flow of your main points. When you look at your main points, can you see them as progressive, or does it make sense to talk about one first, another one second, and the final one last? If you look at your order, and it doesn’t make sense to you, you probably need to think about the flow of your main points. Often, this process is an art and not a science. But let’s look at a couple of examples.

When you look at these two examples, what are your immediate impressions of the two examples? In the first example, does it make sense to talk about history, and then the problems, and finally how to eliminate school dress codes? Would it make sense to put history as your last main point? Probably not. In this case, the main points are in a logical sequential order. What about the second example? Does it make sense to talk about your solution, then your problem, and then define the solution? Not really! What order do you think these main points should be placed in for a logical flow? Maybe you should explain the problem (lack of rider laws), then define your solution (what is rider law legislation), and then argue for your solution (why states should have rider laws). Notice that in this example you don’t even need to know what “rider laws” are to see that the flow didn’t make sense.

Using Common Organizing Patterns

A motivational poster of water running over rocks. The caption says

Twentyfour Students –  Organization makes you flow  – CC BY-SA 2.0.

Previously in this chapter we discussed how to make your main points flow logically. This section is going to provide you with a number of organizational patterns to help you create a logically organized speech. The first organizational pattern we’ll discuss is topical.

By far the most common pattern for organizing a speech is by categories or topics . The topical organizational pattern is a way to help the speaker arrange the message in a consistent fashion. The goal of a topical organization is to create categories (or chunks) of information that go together to help support your original specific purpose. Let’s look at an example.

In this case, we have a speaker trying to persuade a group of high school juniors to apply to attend Generic University. To persuade this group, the speaker has divided the information into three basic categories: what it’s like to live in the dorms, what classes are like, and what life is like on campus. Almost anyone could take this basic speech and specifically tailor the speech to fit their university or college. The main points in this example could be rearranged and the organizational pattern would still be effective because there is no inherent logic to the sequence of points. Let’s look at a second example.

In this speech, the speaker is talking about how to find others online and date them. Specifically, the speaker starts by explaining what Internet dating is; then the speaker talks about how to make Internet dating better for audience members; and finally, the speaker ends by discussing some negative aspects of Internet dating. Again, notice that the information is chunked into three topics and that the second and third could be reversed and still provide a logical structure for your speech

Comparison/Contrast

Another method for organizing main points is the comparison/contrast pattern. While this pattern clearly lends itself easily to two main points, you can also create a third point by giving basic information about what is being compared and what is being contrasted. Let’s look at two examples; the first one will be a two-point example and the second a three-point example.

If you were using the comparison/contrast pattern for persuasive purposes, in the preceding examples, you’d want to make sure that when you show how Drug X and Drug Y differ, you clearly state why Drug X is clearly the better choice for physicians to adopt. In essence, you’d want to make sure that when you compare the two drugs, you show that Drug X has all the benefits of Drug Y, but when you contrast the two drugs, you show how Drug X is superior to Drug Y in some way.

The spatial organizational pattern arranges information according to how things fit together in physical space. This pattern is best used when your main points are oriented to different locations that can exist independently. The basic reason to choose this format is to show that the main points have clear locations. We’ll look at two examples here, one involving physical geography and one involving a different spatial order.

If you look at a basic map of the United States, you’ll notice that these groupings of states were created because of their geographic location to one another. In essence, the states create three spatial territories to explain.

Now let’s look at a spatial speech unrelated to geography.

In this example, we still have three basic spatial areas. If you look at a model of the urinary system, the first step is the kidney, which then takes waste through the ureters to the bladder, which then relies on the sphincter muscle to excrete waste through the urethra. All we’ve done in this example is create a spatial speech order for discussing how waste is removed from the human body through the urinary system. It is spatial because the organization pattern is determined by the physical location of each body part in relation to the others discussed.

Chronological

The chronological pattern places the main idea in the time order in which items appear—whether backward or forward. Here’s a simple example.

In this example, we’re looking at the writings of Winston Churchill in relation to World War II (before, during, and after). By placing his writings into these three categories, we develop a system for understanding this material based on Churchill’s own life. Note that you could also use reverse chronological order and start with Churchill’s writings after World War II, progressing backward to his earliest writings.

Biographical

As you might guess, the biographical organizational pattern is generally used when a speaker wants to describe a person’s life—either a speaker’s own life, the life of someone they know personally, or the life of a famous person. By the nature of this speech organizational pattern, these speeches tend to be informative or entertaining; they are usually not persuasive. Let’s look at an example.

In this example, we see how Brian Warner, through three major periods of his life, ultimately became the musician known as Marilyn Manson.

In this example, these three stages are presented in chronological order, but the biographical pattern does not have to be chronological. For example, it could compare and contrast different periods of the subject’s life, or it could focus topically on the subject’s different accomplishments.

The causal pattern is used to explain cause-and-effect relationships. When you use a causal speech pattern, your speech will have two basic main points: cause and effect. In the first main point, typically you will talk about the causes of a phenomenon, and in the second main point you will then show how the causes lead to either a specific effect or a small set of effects. Let’s look at an example.

In this case, the first main point is about the history and prevalence of drinking alcohol among Native Americans (the cause). The second point then examines the effects of Native American alcohol consumption and how it differs from other population groups.

However, a causal organizational pattern can also begin with an effect and then explore one or more causes. In the following example, the effect is the number of arrests for domestic violence.

In this example, the possible causes for the difference might include stricter law enforcement, greater likelihood of neighbors reporting an incident, and police training that emphasizes arrests as opposed to other outcomes. Examining these possible causes may suggest that despite the arrest statistic, the actual number of domestic violence incidents in your city may not be greater than in other cities of similar size.

Problem-Cause-Solution

Another format for organizing distinct main points in a clear manner is the p roblem-cause-solution pattern. In this format you describe a problem, identify what you believe is causing the problem, and then recommend a solution to correct the problem.

In this speech, the speaker wants to persuade people to pass a new curfew for people under eighteen. To help persuade the civic group members, the speaker first shows that vandalism and violence are problems in the community. Once the speaker has shown the problem, the speaker then explains to the audience that the cause of this problem is youth outside after 10:00 p.m. Lastly, the speaker provides the mandatory 10:00 p.m. curfew as a solution to the vandalism and violence problem within the community. The problem-cause-solution format for speeches generally lends itself to persuasive topics because the speaker is asking an audience to believe in and adopt a specific solution.

Selecting an Organizational Pattern

Each of the preceding organizational patterns is potentially useful for organizing the main points of your speech. However, not all organizational patterns work for all speeches. For example, as we mentioned earlier, the biographical pattern is useful when you are telling the story of someone’s life. Some other patterns, particularly comparison/contrast and problem-cause-solution, are well suited for persuasive speaking. Your challenge is to choose the best pattern for the particular speech you are giving.

You should be aware that it is also possible to combine two or more organizational patterns to meet the goals of a specific speech. For example, you might wish to discuss a problem and then compare/contrast several different possible solutions for the audience. Such a speech would thus be combining elements of the comparison/contrast and problem-cause-solution patterns. When considering which organizational pattern to use, you need to keep in mind your specific purpose as well as your audience and the actual speech material itself to decide which pattern you think will work best.

Keeping Your Speech Moving

A rewind knob

Chris Marquardt –  REWIND  – CC BY-SA 2.0.

Have you ever been listening to a speech or a lecture and found yourself thinking, “I am so lost!” or “Where the heck is this speaker going?” Chances are one of the reasons you weren’t sure what the speaker was talking about was that the speaker didn’t effectively keep the speech moving. When we are reading and encounter something we don’t understand, we have the ability to reread the paragraph and try to make sense of what we’re trying to read. Unfortunately, we are not that lucky when it comes to listening to a speaker. We cannot pick up our universal remote and rewind the person. For this reason, speakers need to really think about how they keep a speech moving so that audience members are easily able to keep up with the speech. In this section, we’re going to look at four specific techniques speakers can use that make following a speech much easier for an audience: transitions, internal previews, internal summaries, and signposts.

Transitions between Main Points

A transition is a phrase or sentence that indicates that a speaker is moving from one main point to another main point in a speech. Basically, a transition is a sentence where the speaker summarizes what was said in one point and previews what is going to be discussed in the next point. Let’s look at some examples:

  • Now that we’ve seen the problems caused by lack of adolescent curfew laws, let’s examine how curfew laws could benefit our community.
  • Thus far we’ve examined the history and prevalence of alcohol abuse among Native Americans, but it is the impact that this abuse has on the health of Native Americans that is of the greatest concern.
  • Now that we’ve thoroughly examined how these two medications are similar to one another, we can consider the many clear differences between the two medications.
  • Although he was one of the most prolific writers in Great Britain prior to World War II, Winston Churchill continued to publish during the war years as well.

You’ll notice that in each of these transition examples, the beginning phrase of the sentence indicates the conclusion of a period of time (now that, thus far). The table below contains a variety of transition words that will be useful when keeping your speech moving.

Table 9.1  Transition Words

Beyond transitions, there are several other techniques that you can use to clarify your speech organization for your audience. The next sections address several of these techniques, including internal previews, internal summaries, and signposts.

Internal Previews

An internal preview is a phrase or sentence that gives an audience an idea of what is to come within a section of a speech. An internal preview works similarly to the preview that a speaker gives at the end of a speech introduction, quickly outlining what they will talk about (i.e., the speech’s three main body points). In an internal preview, speakers highlight what they are going to discuss within a specific main point during a speech.

Ausubel was the first person to examine the effect that internal previews had on retention of oral information (Ausubel, 1968). Essentially, when speakers clearly inform an audience what they will talk about in a clear and organized manner, the audience listens for those main points, which leads to higher retention of the speaker’s message. Let’s look at a sample internal preview:

To help us further understand why recycling is important, we will first explain the positive benefits of recycling and then explore how recycling can help our communi ty.

When an audience hears that you will be exploring two different ideas within this main point, they are ready to listen for those main points as you talk about them. In essence, you’re helping your audience keep up with your speech.

Rather than being given alone, internal previews often come after a speaker has transitioned to that main topic area. Using the previous internal preview, let’s see it along with the transition to that main point.

Now that we’ve explored the effect that a lack of consistent recycling has on our community, let’s explore the importance of recycling for our community ( transition ). To help us further understand why recycling is important, we will first explain the positive benefits of recycling and then explore how recycling can help our community ( internal preview ).

While internal previews are definitely helpful, you do not need to include one for every main point of your speech. In fact, we recommend that you use internal previews sparingly to highlight only main points containing relatively complex information.

Internal Summaries

Whereas an internal preview helps an audience know what you are going to talk about within a main point at the beginning, an internal summary is delivered to remind an audience of what they just heard within the speech. In general, internal summaries are best used when the information within a specific main point of a speech was complicated. To write your own internal summaries, look at the summarizing transition words in Table 9.1. Let’s look at an example.

To sum up, school bullying is a definite problem. Bullying in schools has been shown to be detrimental to the victim’s grades, the victim’s scores on standardized tests, and the victim’s future educational outlook.

In this example, the speaker was probably talking about the impact that bullying has on an individual victim educationally. Of course, an internal summary can also be a great way to lead into a transition to the next point of a speech.

In this section, we have explored how bullying in schools has been shown to be detrimental to the victim’s grades, the victim’s scores on standardized tests, and the victim’s future educational outlook ( internal summary ). Therefore, schools need to implement campus-wide, comprehensive antibullying programs ( transition ).

While not sounding like the more traditional transition, this internal summary helps readers summarize the content of that main point. The sentence that follows then leads to the next major part of the speech, which is going to discuss the importance of antibullying programs.

speech pattern definition simple

Have you ever been on a road trip and watched the green rectangular mile signs pass you by? Fifty miles to go. Twenty-five miles to go. One mile to go. Signposts within a speech function the same way. Speakers use signposts to guide their audience through the content of a speech. If you look at Table 9.1 and look at the “common sequence patterns,” you’ll see a series of possible signpost options. In essence, we use these short phrases at the beginning of a piece of information to help our audience members keep up with what we’re discussing. For example, if you were giving a speech whose main point was about the three functions of credibility, you could use internal signposts like this:

  • The first function of credibility is competence.
  • The second function of credibility is trustworthiness.
  • The final function of credibility is caring/goodwill.

Signposts are simply meant to help your audience keep up with your speech, so the more simplistic your signposts are, the easier it is for your audience to follow.

In addition to helping audience members keep up with a speech, signposts can also be used to highlight specific information the speaker thinks is important. Where the other signposts were designed to show the way (like highway markers), signposts that call attention to specific pieces of information are more like billboards. Words and phrases that are useful for highlighting information can be found in Table 9.1 under the category “emphasis.” All these words are designed to help you call attention to what you are saying so that the audience will also recognize the importance of the information.

Note from the author, Gruber: As we have previously stated, organization is integral to your audience understanding your message, and thus, being influenced by it. A clear organizational pattern with connectives, such as transitions and summaries, creates a clear and memorable message.

Finally, we sometimes get funny looks when we suggest you write the body of your speech  before  your Introduction & Conclusion. The natural thought may be “The introduction comes first, so I should write  it first.” However, consider the objectives of the Introduction, as described in the next chapter, and you’ll understand why you should always write the body first and then  the introduction and conclusion.

  • Baker, E. E. (1965). The immediate effects of perceived speaker disorganization on speaker credibility and audience attitude change in persuasive speaking. Western Speech, 29 , 148–161.
  • Smith, R. G. (1951). An experimental study of the effects of speech organization upon attitudes of college students. Speech Monographs, 18 , 292–301.
  • Thompson, E. C. (1960). An experimental investigation of the relative effectiveness of organizational structure in oral communication.  Southern Speech Journal, 26 , 59–69.
  • Bostrom, R. N., & Waldhart, E. S. (1988). Memory models and the measurement of listening.  Communication Education, 37 , 1–13.
  • Dunham, J. R. (1964).  Voice contrast and repetition in speech retention  (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from:  http://etd.lib.ttu.edu/theses .
  • LeFrancois, G. R. (1999).  Psychology for teaching (10th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
  • Smith, R. G. (1951). An experimental study of the effects of speech organization upon attitudes of college students.  Speech Monographs, 18 , 292–301.
  • Ausubel, D. P. (1968).  Educational psychology . New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.
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  • https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-led-signage-on-the-wall-942317/

Stand up, Speak out  by University of Minnesota is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

Principles of Public Speaking Copyright © 2022 by Katie Gruber is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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  1. Why Simple Speech Patterns Are More Effective in Presentations

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  4. Speech Pattern Fundamentals And How You Communicate

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  5. Speech patterns and educational achievement

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  6. Examples of speech patterns.

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  1. Parts of speech

  2. Types of part of speech

  3. Practicing Linking Consonants and Vowels for Better Pronunciation

  4. Pattern Making ( Definition& History

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COMMENTS

  1. What Are Speech Patterns?

    Speech pattern refers to a characteristic mode by which someone expresses themself. This differs from dialect, defined as regional variations in a language, most commonly called an 'accent'. Mannerisms regarding speech are particularly intriguing because everyone has their own speaking style.

  2. Speech Pattern Fundamentals and How You Communicate

    A speech pattern is a characteristic mode of verbal expression. These mannerisms are noteworthy because each person has their own version. Knowing how to describe speech patterns can dramatically improve your ability to create media content. But if you prefer to watch a video instead, click here: This post was updated in April 2021

  3. Speech pattern

    noun distinctive manner of oral expression "she had a very clear speech pattern " synonyms: accent see more Cite this entry Style: MLA "Speech pattern." Vocabulary.com Dictionary, Vocabulary.com, https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/speech pattern. Accessed 02 Dec. 2023. Copy citation Examples from books and articles All sources

  4. 10.2 Using Common Organizing Patterns

    The spatial speech pattern organizes information according to how things fit together in physical space. This pattern is best used when your main points are oriented to different locations that can exist independently. The basic reason to choose this format is to show that the main points have clear locations.

  5. Creating the Body of a Speech

    Here's a simple example. Specific Purpose: To inform my audience about the books written by Winston Churchill: Main Points: ... When you use a causal speech pattern, your speech will have two basic main points: cause and effect. In the first main point, typically you will talk about the causes of a phenomenon, and in the second main point you ...

  6. SPEECH PATTERN definition in American English

    (pætəʳn ) countable noun A pattern is the repeated or regular way in which something happens or is done. Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers Definition of 'speech' speech (spiːtʃ ) uncountable noun Speech is the ability to speak or the act of speaking. Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's Dictionary.

  7. Speech Patterns: Uptalking

    Glossary of Grammatical and Rhetorical Terms. Uptalk is a speech pattern in which phrases and sentences habitually end with a rising sound, as if the statement were a question. Also known as upspeak, high-rising terminal (HRT), high-rising tone, valley girl speech, Valspeak, talking in questions, rising intonation, upward inflection ...

  8. We develop our language learning skills through speech patterns

    The processing capacities of our brains show us that throughout history, our language is constantly changing. Over centuries, frequently occurring speech patterns become more frequent, this development is due to our brains perceiving, processing, and learning frequently, which thus develops prototypical sound patterns more easily than less ...

  9. Speech pattern

    Noun 1. speech pattern - distinctive manner of oral expression; "he couldn't suppress his contemptuous accent"; "she had a very clear speech pattern" accent pronunciation - the manner in which someone utters a word; "they are always correcting my pronunciation" drawl - a slow speech pattern with prolonged vowels

  10. speech pattern collocation

    collocation in English meanings of speech and pattern These words are often used together. Click on the links below to explore the meanings. Or, see other collocations with speech or pattern . speech noun uk / spiːtʃ / us / spiːtʃ / the ability to talk, the activity of talking, or a piece of ... See more at speech pattern noun

  11. Why Simple Speech Patterns Are More Effective in Presentations

    Simple words will be easier for your audience to remember. Interact with your audience too. React to their responses and generate conversation after your presentation is over. Simple speech patterns have four elements that go hand in hand. Repeating yourself will lead to recitation of your message. Speaking with simple words will make your ...

  12. 6.2: Organizational Patterns of Arrangement

    Topical Pattern. When the main points of your speech center on ideas that are more distinct from one another, a topical organization pattern may be used. In a topical speech, main points are developed according to the different aspects, subtopics or topics within an overall topic. Although they are all part of the overall topic, the order in ...

  13. Speech Organizational Patterns

    Speech organizational patterns, or methods of organization, refers to the way the information is arranged within the speech. That is to say, the writer chooses which main point to discuss first ...

  14. Speech Assessment

    Speech assessment is a method to evaluate and diagnose problems in adults and children of speaking, swallowing, comprehension, and writing.

  15. Topical Organization

    A topical pattern is the most common way to structure speeches, particularly speeches of information, because it is relevant to nearly any topic or type of speech. However, you should make sure to explore all other organizational patterns before selecting it in case your topic fits better elsewhere.

  16. Speech Organization

    There are five main speech organizational patterns: topical, spatial, chronological, problem-solution, and causal. A speaker should choose the organizational pattern that makes the most...

  17. Understanding the 8 Parts of Speech: Definitions and Examples

    In the English language, it's commonly accepted that there are 8 parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, conjunctions, interjections, and prepositions. Each of these categories plays a different role in communicating meaning in the English language. Each of the eight parts of speech—which we might also call the "main ...

  18. Speech Outline

    Speech Outline Definition When trying to present information, whether to persuade or inform, creating an outline can assist in constructing and executing an effective speech. Through the use...

  19. The 8 Parts of Speech

    A part of speech (also called a word class) is a category that describes the role a word plays in a sentence.Understanding the different parts of speech can help you analyze how words function in a sentence and improve your writing. The parts of speech are classified differently in different grammars, but most traditional grammars list eight parts of speech in English: nouns, pronouns, verbs ...

  20. Speech Writing Format, Samples, Examples

    Example 1. Write a speech to be delivered in the school assembly as Rahul/ Rubaina of Delhi Public School emphasises the importance of cleanliness, implying that the level of cleanliness represents the character of its residents. (150-200 words) "Cleanliness is next to godliness," said the great John Wesley.

  21. Parts of Speech: Definitions, Examples & 8 Types

    Some words are there to show action, some to join, and some to name something. There are 8 different parts of speech including nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, prepositions, conjunction, and interjection. And together, all the functions performed by words in the English language fall under Parts of speech.

  22. Nikki Haley makes no mention of slavery when asked to name cause of

    By Greg Hyatt and Summer Concepcion. BERLIN, N.H. — Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley declined Wednesday to say slavery was a cause of the Civil War, arguing instead that it came ...

  23. SPEECH PATTERN definition and meaning

    (pætəʳn ) countable noun A pattern is the repeated or regular way in which something happens or is done. Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers Definition of 'speech' speech (spiːtʃ ) uncountable noun Speech is the ability to speak or the act of speaking. Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's Dictionary.

  24. Chapter Nine

    When creating a speech, it's important to remember that speeches have three clear parts: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. The introduction establishes the topic and whets your audience's appetite, and the conclusion wraps everything up at the end of your speech. The real "meat" of your speech happens in the body.